Companies may still be wary about the timing or strength of an economic recovery, but they're beginning to open their pocketbooks and increase their capital expenditures.

That's the gist of a Wall Street Journal article today, saying uncertainty over the debt problems in Europe "is being trumped by concern about getting left behind" as a recovery takes hold. As I pointed out last week, FedEx (NYSE: FDX) is one of the companies upping its capital spending after seeing improving global economic conditions over the past few months. The Journal article also points to increased capital spending by 3M (NYSE: MMM) for a new solar-film plant in Singapore, and engine-maker Cummins (NYSE: CMI) as it tries to meet demand in India and China.

What other firms are ready to open up? Keep an eye on Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), which has the largest cash hoard of any non-financial company and is more than ready for an uptick in the networking and communications industries. And, in Cash-Rich Companies Ready to Pounce, I detail which firms have the most cash related to their market caps. In the communications equipment industry, Harmonic (Nasdaq: HLIT), Sonus Networks (Nasdaq: SONS), InterDigital (Nasdaq: IDCC), and Tellabs all have net cash exceeding 40% of their market caps! The ability to pounce on any lucrative opportunities -- from new projects to new plants -- gives these smaller players a nice competitive advantage.

Fool analyst Rex Moore is 12% cash by body weight. He owns no companies mentioned in this article. 3M is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. FedEx and InterDigital are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.