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Merrill Foresees Profit Growth Slowdown

By John S. McClenahen It's no right-wing conspiracy. But a combination of economic factors will lead to a slower rate of corporate profit growth, believes Merrill Lynch & Co., New York. ". . . The combination of slower economic growth, smaller positive foreign currency translations, higher interest expenses, higher depreciation expenses . . . and less operating leverage will more than offset [a] better pricing environment and lead to a slowdown in profit growth," says the securities firm. "In order to see sales and profits accelerate from current growth rates, we would need to see a sharp pickup in economic growth as well as a material improvement in corporate pricing power, both unlikely scenarios in our view."

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