Corporate America's Profit Surprise

Earnings get a second wind as global markets firm and cost-cutting kicks in

Just when it looked like it might cramp up, Corporate America has found a second wind in its profits marathon. Observers had fretted that economic problems in Asia and Latin America, combined with exhausted U.S. consumers, would cut short the eight-year run of U.S. earnings growth in the first quarter. But foreign economies appear to have stabilized, and consumers haven't yet worn out their plastic. That gave companies enough energy to sprint to their best earnings performance since 1997's first quarter.

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