U.S. companies hurt by the global credit crisis are continuing to hold more cash, even as the economy begins to show signs of improvement, the Wall Street Journal said, citing its analysis of company filings.

In the second quarter, the 500 largest non-financial U.S. companies by total assets held about $994 billion in cash and short-term investments, or 9.8 percent of their assets, according to the paper's analysis of corporate filings.

In contrast, the companies held $846 billion, or 7.9 percent of assets, a year ago, the paper said.

The trend seems to have continued in the third quarter, despite an improving economy, the paper said.

The 248 companies that have reported third-quarter results so far saw their cash holdings go up by a percentage point sequentially to 11.1 percent of assets, the paper said.

Companies such as Alcoa Inc , Google Inc , PepsiCo Inc
and Texas Instruments Inc reported big third-quarter increases in cash holdings, the paper said.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)