Surprise: U.S. Corporations Pulling Back Investments

Katie Pavlich

11/19/2012 11:13:00 AM - Katie Pavlich

Everyone knows by the now there is a fiscal cliff looming and everyone knows President Obama wants to raise taxes on "millionaires and billionaires," which is actually anyone making more than $250,000 per year. With the recent talk from Obama, saying there is no way he will budge on a tax increase for the country's "rich," corporations are naturally pulling back their investments and cutting workers.

U.S. companies are scaling back investment plans at the fastest pace since the recession, signaling more trouble for the economic recovery.

Half of the nation's 40 biggest publicly traded corporate spenders have announced plans to curtail capital expenditures this year or next, according to a review by The Wall Street Journal of securities filings and conference calls.

Nationwide, business investment in equipment and software—a measure of economic vitality in the corporate sector—stalled in the third quarter for the first time since early 2009. Corporate investment in new buildings has declined.

Corporate executives say they are slowing or delaying big projects to protect profits amid easing demand and rising uncertainty. Uncertainty around the U.S. elections and federal budget policies also appear among the factors driving the investment pullback since midyear. It is unclear whether Washington will avert the so-called fiscal cliff, tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to begin Jan. 2.

Companies fear that failure to resolve the fiscal cliff will tip the economy back into recession by sapping consumer spending, damaging investor confidence and eating into corporate profits. A deal to avert the cliff could include tax-code changes, such as revamping tax breaks or rates, that hurt specific sectors.

Private investors have also pulled their money out of the stock market in recent weeks and the DOW has plunged 1000 points since Obama's reelection. The day after the election was the worst day of the year for the DOW. On top of a tax increase, companies are also preparing for ObamaCare to kick in, which requires them to hire and invest less.