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CEOs Expect Lower US Growth This Year: Survey

US chief executives have lowered their expectations for domestic growth this year, but held their overall business outlook steady as they count on international expansion to offset woes at home, according to a survey by the Business Roundtable.

CEOs surveyed estimated U.S. gross domestic product would rise 1.5 percent this year, down from a prior forecast of 2.1 percent growth.

But the overall outlook on business conditions was unchanged, reflecting international exposure for many of the Roundtable's 160 member companies, which collectively generate $4.5 trillion in annual revenue.

"There is obviously no question that the U.S. economy has slowed significantly," said Harold McGraw, chairman and CEO of McGraw-Hill Cos , who also serves as Roundtable chairman.

"The majority of these companies are actively engaged in the international economy and continue to see strong export growth bolstering their businesses as well as their economic outlooks, despite a general softening of domestic economic conditions," McGraw told a conference call with reporters.

The Roundtable said its quarterly CEO Economic Outlook Index stood at 79.5, unchanged from its December survey.

Any reading above 50 indicates growth. Half the CEOs surveyed said they expected to keep their U.S.

capital spending budgets flat over the next six month, and 48 percent said they expected their companies' U.S. employment to remain steady.

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