CEO Confidence Plummets on U.S. Outlook

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The Business Roundtable’s CEO Economic Outlook Survey for the third quarter of 2012 is out, and the word to describe the report would be cautious.  The report shows that CEOs are again decreasing their expectations for sales, capital spending and hiring over the next six months.

An official figure for the report is 66.0 and that is down all the way from 89.1 in the second quarter of 2012. It is also the lowest reading since the third quarter of 2009. To add insult to injury, this is the third largest drop from one quarter to the next in the survey’s history.

In terms of the overall U.S. economy, Business Roundtable members estimate real GDP will grow by 1.9 percent in 2012, down from last quarter’s estimate of 2.1 percent.

The chairman is Jim McNerney, who is also CEO of The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA). He noted, “The downshift in quarterly sentiment reflects continuing concern about the strength of the recovery, including uncertainty over the approaching fiscal cliff and accompanying debates about the tax code, sequestration and the debt ceiling.”

Just a handful of the many key companies listed as members are Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA), Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC), Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT), The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM), and General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). The list is really a who’s who among the top CEOs in America.

Unlike the more backward looking CFO outlook report from this week, this survey was completed between August 30 and September 14, 2012 and the responses were from 138 member CEOs or 65% of the total BRT membership.

FULL REPORT

JON C. OGG

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