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CNBC's Global CFO Council: Policy not affecting business

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According to CNBC's exclusive Global CFO Council survey, the government shutdown and the Federal Reserve's latest round of policy actions have had little impact on business decisions.

Ahead of the federal government shutdown, CNBC asked the 25 chief financial officers who make up the council—and who collectively manage some $2 trillion in market capitalization—whether or not such a scenario would pose a risk to their firm's strategic planning.

The overwhelming majority of respondents—95 percent—said "no".

When it comes to the Fed's delay in tapering, nearly 72 percent said their company's financial decisions have remained unchanged in the wake of the central bank's decision. Most of the council was split on when they think tapering will actually begin, most believe it will happen before the third quarter of 2014—nearly 95 percent.

Yet despite the fact that recent public policy decisions have yet to trickle down and affect the council's business planning, there has been a dip in overall economic optimism. This dip has become a trend in CNBC's CFO Council surveys.

In July's survey, 4 percent of the council said the overall economy was "strongly improving." Those feelings of strong economic improvement were nonexistent in August's survey, but 62 percent of the council still felt things were "modestly improving." This time, the sentiment of slight improvement dropped—a 50/50 split between "modestly improving" and "stable."

(Read more: Obama to Wall Street: This time be worried)

When asked what the largest external risk factor facing their company today is, the top response was weakening consumer demand, followed by the global economy.

Highlights from the CNBC Global Council Survey:
—61 percent anticipate their firm's third quarter earnings to be "as expected."
—78 percent believe activist investors have some level of impact on shareholder equity.
—Nearly 40 percent are projecting a slight head-count increase in 2014; while almost another 40 percent said they are expecting a slight head-count decrease.

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Question 6

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Question 11

This month the S&P warned that U.S. stock exchanges that have significant technical problems could lose market share as investors lose confidence in the exchanges. In your view, what level of impact does exchange vulnerability—especially in the wake of the NASDAQ shutdown—have on investor confidence?

Answer Options Response Percent
Significant loss in confidence 5.6%
Moderate loss in confidence 27.8%
Slight loss in confidence 38.9%
Neutral 27.8%

Question 12

What best describes your firm's spending plan on cybersecurity in 2014?

Answer Options Response Percent
Significant spending 27.8%
Moderate spending 44.4%
Unchanged from 2013 27.8%
Reduced spending 0.0%

Question 13

With the holiday season approaching, what are your corporate plans for seasonal hires over last year?

Answer Options Response Percent
Significant head-count increase 0.0%
Slight head-count increase 5.6%
Unchanged 44.4%
Slight head-count decrease 5.6%
Significant head-count decrease 5.6%
Not applicable 38.9%

Question 14

What best describes your anticipated levels of total compensation for your firm's employees in FY 2014 compared to FY 2013 - net inflation?

Answer Options Response Percent
Significant increase 0.0%
Slight increase 72.2%
Unchanged 22.2%
Slight decrease 5.6%
Significant decrease 0.0%

Question 15

What is your projected corporate plan for U.S. hiring in 2014?

Answer Options Response Percent
Significant head-count increase 0.0%
Slight head-count increase 38.9%
Unchanged 22.2%
Slight head-count decrease 38.9%
Significant head-count decrease 0.0%

Question 16

Question 17

Do you consider the threat of a government shutdown a significant risk to your current strategic planning?

Answer Options Response Percent
Yes 5.6%
No 94.4%

Question 18

Question 19

Do you expect the Dow Jones Industrial Average to reach 16,000 by the end of 2013?

Answer Options Response Percent
Yes 22.2%
No 77.8%

Question 20

—By CNBC's Anthony Volastro.

CNBC Global CFO Council

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