November 18 (WSJ) — Though corporate profits were higher overall, companies slashed their spending on factories, equipment and other performance-enhancing investments by 16% from year-earlier levels, according to an analysis by REL Consultancy for The Wall Street Journal. Almost 90% of the companies that have given financial forecasts for the final quarter of the year have prompted Wall Street analysts to lower their numbers. Only a dozen companies have painted rosier pictures, according to data tracker FactSet. With more than 90% of companies in the S&P 500 index having posted results for the quarter, blended earnings were up 3.5% from a year earlier, and profit remained in record territory, according to FactSet. Profit margins, at 9.6%, were near records, thanks to cost cutting, automation and lower commodity prices. But revenue growth was a tepid 2.9% from a year earlier.
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