Companies are cutting their capital spending plans, according to a Wall Street Journal article that is based on a review of companies' public filings and conference calls. Half of the 40 biggest U.S. companies have announced plan to cut such spending either this year or next, the Journal says, including Boeing, Ford, Intel, Wal-Mart and Walt Disney.

Third-quarter business spending on equipment and software stalled in the third quarter for the first time since 2009.

The Journal blames the spending cuts on uncertainty generated by the elections and the possibility Washington won't be able to avoid the fiscal cliff, a combination of government spending cuts and tax increases scheduled for the start of next year. Of course, the decrease in investment spending poses its own threat to the U.S. economy.

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