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Corporate Profits Cloud U.S. Investment, Hiring Outlook

Before-tax corporate earnings fell 4.9 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the fifth consecutive decline and the worst streak since the end of the recession in mid-2009, Commerce Department figures showed on Friday. The profit slump, included in the report on revisions to gross domestic product, softens the outlook for already-weak business investment and also poses a risk to continued strength in hiring, which has been a bright spot for consumer spending and for the economy.