Shipping giant United Parcel Service Inc. cut its forecast for 2012 after posting plummeting third-quarter earnings and "uncertainty" about the upcoming holiday season.
UPS reported a net profit of $469 million, or 48 cents a share, sharply down 56% from $1.07 billion, or $1.09 a share, in the same period a year ago. Sales also slid nearly 1% to $13.1 billion.
Company executives said the so-called fiscal cliff looming at year's end which will prompt spending cuts and tax hikes unless Congress comes up with a compromise, throws more uncertainty into an already fragile economy.
"The lack of clear direction on future tax and spending policy...will continue to slow business investment," said Chief Executive Scott Davis on a call with analysts.