DEFINITION of 'Trading Below Cash'
When a company's total share value is less than its cash minus debts. Trading below cash occurs when the market capitalization is less than the amount of actual cash a company has on hand. Trading below cash often occurs when growth prospects are poor.
BREAKING DOWN 'Trading Below Cash'
Trading below cash may or may not be viewed as a negative depending on the company outlook. If a company is in the process of a turnaround, the stock may be trading below cash with the potential to succeed in the future. The opposite may also be true, if a company is trading at below cash with weak growth prospects, it may be a sign the company is in trouble.
There's an old saying, "even a palace isn't worth much if it's on fire," meaning that a company's cash reserves aren't nearly as important as how fast the money is being spent (the burn rate).