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Berkshire’s Pederson Says U.S. Businesses Scaling Back

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s furniture-rental unit saw a slowing in demand from business clients in the second quarter, indicating that firms are curbing spending on projects amid less optimism about the U.S. economy.

Demand is “simmering compared to where it was at the beginning of the year, when it looked like the recovery, at least from our perspective, would have been pretty robust,” said Jeff Pederson, the new chief executive officer of Berkshire’s CORT Business Services Corp., the world’s largest provider of rental furniture. “It’s not flat-lining, by any stretch of the imagination, but it has slowed down.”