The evidence that many companies are reducing gearing, stockpiling cash and not offering an immediate explanation as to what they will do with the money is worrying.

As the Telegraph article indicates, when the economic outlook is uncertain cash is historically hoarded. Brexit, European elections in France, Germany, Netherlands and potentially Italy, all with uncertain results, a trump presidency with an aggressive China policy and US protectionism, devaluation in sterling and potential significant inflation and increasing industrial unrest all point to a volatile 2017. 

Consequently, some companies may use the cash to initiate buybacks, some may increase their dividend yield and some may reduce borrowing to a minimal level - all of which are legitimate strategies, provided they are clearly articulated to investors and wider stakeholders by boards.

However, this is also a time to think about opportunities that may come from this uncertainty.

Already we are seeing US corporates taking advantage of the devaluation to look at sterling denominated businesses whose valuation may be more attractive than pre-June. 

China is also looking at Europe because to the uncertainty of investing in Trump's America. 

But all companies, including those in the UK and Europe, should be looking at their competitors and peers to see if synergies created from a combination outweigh the risks of spending cash. 

Joint ventures are also often used to minimise risk, particularly in new technologies. If two like-minded companies wish to invest in the future via a shared platform, a joint venture could be used, recognising that often an arrangement will need unwinding within a few years.

This is also an opportunity to talk to customers and suppliers about their investment needs or working capital plans, and how cash, credit or soft loans can be used to a strategic advantage to create closer ties, which may be more difficult to break when confidence remains.  

So by all means, be cautious with cash - but ensure you are looking at the best ways to use it rather than simply returning it to shareholders.