Of all the cases of economic espionage charged by the DOJ's National Security Division since 2012, more than 80% of them implicated China.World Politicsread more
"Whilst there is a big dispute at the moment, I think there's also potential for resolution," UBS chairman Axel Weber says of the U.S.-China trade negotiations.Singapore Summitread more
Cryptocurrency fans will hope the futures contracts, which are federally regulated, can provide some much-needed legitimacy to bitcoin.Cryptocurrencyread more
Despite mixed fan and critic reactions to the final season of "Game of Thrones," the eight-season epic took home the top prize in the drama category at the Emmy Awards on...Entertainmentread more
There are alternative financial centers and investors can turn to Singapore, Tokyo or Shanghai if Hong Kong doesn't "shape up," says the founder and chairman of Citic Capital.Singapore Summitread more
The Kingdom and oil and gas industry have been slow to shore up defenses, raising red flags about the possibility of longer term fall-out in the region.Technologyread more
Tensions between South Korea and Japan may ultimately disrupt the high-end tech sectors, says Heenam Choi, CEO at South Korea's sovereign wealth fund.Singapore Summitread more
On Sunday, the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards honored the best comedies, dramas, limited and variety series from the last year.Entertainmentread more
U.S. President Donald Trump's national security advisor said on Sunday that White House Asia policy adviser Matt Pottinger would become his top deputy.Politicsread more
Removing Neumann is a difficult decision for Son, who has long believed in WeWork and Neumann's vision to quickly expand the company.Technologyread more
Datadog went public on Thursday and instantly hit a $10 billion valuation, becoming the fourth cloud software debut to reach that level this year.Technologyread more
Companies are using a dramatic surge in cash to invest both in the present and the future at levels not seen in at least a decade.
As things stand, 2018 will be the first time since 2007 that companies are spending a bigger portion of cash on share buybacks than capital expenditures. Goldman Sachs has estimated that share repurchases could total more than $1 trillion this year.
But what hasn't been quite as apparent has been the willingness to take spend on capital expenditures. In fact, Goldman estimates that if the current pace continues, 2018 will be the biggest year for capex in a quarter century, even though it is lagging buybacks.
"Rumors of the demise of capital spending have been greatly exaggerated," David Kostin, the bank's chief U.S. equity strategist, said in his most recent market note.
The investment numbers look like this: capital investment, which includes money spent to upgrade physical equipment such as buildings, equipment and machinery, jumped to $341 billion in the first half of the year, an increase of $55 billion, or 19 percent.
In addition, companies spent $147 billion on research and development in the first half, a 14 percent increase that represents the highest move in a decade.
The surge comes amid the massive windfall from a $1.5 trillion tax cut package that sliced the nominal corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Critics have argued that the move will be a budget buster and will mostly benefit investors due to the likelihood that companies will pour most of the money into share buybacks.
"In the last 25 years, you've never had capital spending growth at that level," Kostin told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." "Both arguments are correct in terms what are companies doing with this incremental cash ... partly as the result of lower taxes."
The buybacks number for sure has surged this year as well.
Repurchases hit $384 during the first six months, a 48 percent jump from the same period in 2017. The third quarter has seen no letup, with the total year-to-date buyback level now at $762 billion through mid-September, putting the trend easily on pace to top the $1 trillion Goldman estimate.
However, capital spending is more broad-based.
The 10 largest capex boosters comprised 53 percent of the total increase for S&P 500 companies, according to Kostin. By contrast, the 10 largest buyback companies totaled 78 percent of the total growth for the index.
Apple has been by far the leader in buybacks, with its $45 billion accounting for 24 percent of the total growth.
For investors, following the big buyback companies has been a more profitable trade this year. Companies focused on R&D and capex have underperformed the S&P 500 by four percentage points, while buyback-focused stocks have equaled the index.