Companies in Europe are starting to cut the record amounts ofcash they accumulated since the financial crisis but they're notspending it the way central bankers hoped they would.

Corporate treasurers cracked open their war chests after cashholdings for the region's biggest companies swelled to a peak of697 billion euros ($761 billion) in June 2015, according to datacompiled by Bloomberg. But instead of spending the money to expand,companies are shifting it into short-term securities, the datashow.

Treasurers are rethinking their investment strategies after theEuropean Central Bank cut its main interest rate to negative thisyear, effectively charging lenders to park their corporate clients'money in its vaults. With bond yields pushed to record lows andeconomic turmoil damping the allure of expansion or takeover plans,companies in Europe are looking for ways to reduce the cost ofholding cash.

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