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After the Fed's Latest Rate Cut: CEOs Weigh In

Natalie Erlich,|News Associate
Wednesday, 19 Mar 2008 | 10:53 AM ET

A day after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates another three-quarters of a point, CEOs joined Squawk Box to share their outlook on the economy and markets.

CEO Roundtable
Discussing the Fed, oil and the markets, with Mike Jackson, AutoNation CEO; John Hofmeister, Shell Oil U.S. Operations CEO and Robert McTeer, former Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas president

AutoNation CEO: Bernanke has it right

“It took him a while to get to the party and he sent confusing and disorienting signals through most of last year, but I think he absolutely has it right now. He’s got to be on full flight recession mode, and we’ll worry about the dollar, and commodities and inflation later.”

- Mike Jackson, AutoNation CEO

Economic Pow Wow
Discussing the economy, with Wilbur Ross, Jr., WL Ross & Co. chairman/CEO; Mike Jackson, AutoNation CEO; John Hofmeister, Shell Oil U.S. Operations CEO and Robert McTeer, former Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas president

Wilbur Ross: It's just volatility

“My own opinion is that it’s just more of the same volatility. We’re in a situation if a human’s EKG were as erratic as this, you’d say the guy was about to die.”

- Wilbur Ross, WL Ross & Co. chairman & CEO

Darden Beats the Street
An outlook on chain restaurants and food inflation, with Clarence Otis, Darden Restaurants CEO

Darden CEO on inflation

“We expect on the grain side to still see some price movement upward. On proteins a little less so… a mixed bag… Certainly there are some pressures on discretionary income and with what we see as a result of that is fewer restaurant visits across the board in all segments. And, our goal is to remain a preferred option for consumers.”

- Clarence Otis, Darden Restaurants CEO

Email Questions Answered
Answering viewer emails for guest hosts Mike Jackson, AutoNation CEO; John Hofmeister, Shell Oil U.S. Operations CEO and Robert McTeer, former Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas president

Shell Oil U.S. Operations CEO: Gasoline is a bargain

“If we were passing off the full cost of what we’ve seen in the run-up of crude, the retail price of gasoline would be much higher. Generally the crude price is about 55 percent the cost of gasoline, so we would be running it up considerably. But, because we’ve had a bit of a slowdown in the marketplace, we’ve seen margins for manufactured products decline and people will price it on the street based upon what it takes to unload their gasoline. Well, actually a lot of people will hate me for saying this but gasoline is a real bargain right now give the crude price.”

John Hofmeister, Shell Oil U.S. Operations CEO

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