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We decompose corporate cash flow into its primary components to examine how funds are being internally allocated and to elucidate current trends in corporate behavior. By historical standards, capital investment has been low and shareholder payouts have been high over the past few years, although these patterns do not seem so abnormal once recent economic and financial conditions are factored in. That said, corporate debt levels are now somewhat higher than we would expect given the rather tepid economic recovery from the Great Recession.
The Chicago Fed’s Supervision and Regulation Department and DePaul University’s Center for Financial Services held their ninth annual risk conference on March 29–30, 2016. The conference brought together financial industry professionals, academics, and regulators to discuss the challenges and opportunities posed by the uncertain outlooks for financial markets and geopolitical landscapes across the globe, as well as by the array of innovations from financial technology, or “fintech,” firms.