U.S. corporations ended 2011 with the slowest profit growth intwo years as the mending economy that lifted Macy's Inc. was met bya European slump that vexed companies more tied to global sales,such as Cisco Systems Inc.

Standard & Poor's 500 Index companies may have earned $24.74a share in the fourth quarter, according to analysts' estimatescompiled by Bloomberg as of Jan. 6. The projected 6 percent gain isthe smallest against a year-earlier quarter since September 2009,just after the U.S. recovery began.

“Slowing global growth, some impairment of export activity toEurope and perhaps even the rise of the dollar collectively havebegun to sort of work against the multinational story,” said MarkLuschini, chief investment strategist at Philadelphia- based JanneyMontgomery Scott LLC, which manages $54 billion. While growth isstill “subpar,” he said he intends to invest more in the U.S. toavoid higher international risk.

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