All That Lean Isn't Turning Into Green

It's like the annoying drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet. Every week or two, even as the economy struggles to gain strength, yet another of America's big-name companies announces a major cost-cutting program. As a result, companies as diverse as Colgate-Palmolive, Du Pont, and Hewlett-Packard are taking big write-offs. Wall Street bulls argue that all the trimming has positioned many companies for dramatic profit gains at the first uptick in the economy. But with a slow recovery, a big question arises: How many companies are really lean -- lean enough to post smart profit gains even in a stagnant economy?

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