Scott Malone
October 17, 2012

A slowing world economy took a toll on sales of products ranging from soft drinks to corporate jets in the third quarter, leading top U.S. companies, including PepsiCo Inc, IBM and Textron Inc, to miss Wall Street’s sales targets.

Those misses sparked concerns among investors that corporate America’s year-long streak of profit growth could be nearing an end as CEOs run out of costs to cut and customers are increasingly wary about spending.

A major worry is the risk of the year-end fiscal cliff – $600 billion of spending cuts and higher taxes that could take effect at the end of the year if lawmakers in Washington fail to agree on a plan to shrink the federal deficit.

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