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Castellani: CEO Confidence Down But Not Out

John Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable, sees a light at the end of the economic tunnel despite significant pressures that the global economy continues to put on U.S. businesses.

Castellani discussed on CNBC Tuesday the results of the Business Roundtable's first quarter CEO Economic Outlook Survey, which found American CEO confidence lower, with most anticipating a decrease in expected sales, capital expenditures and employment figures for the next six months.

"We've got to see the consumer come back and we're starting to see some signs that we're at least getting toward the bottom if not at the bottom, Castellani said on CNBC's Power Lunch. "So, there's some hope that in the fourth quarter of this year we'll start to see the economy turn around. It'll be negative, obviously, in the first and second quarter, maybe flatten out in the third quarter, but there's projection that the fourth quarter we'll see a turnaround."

Business Roundtable member CEOs surveyd estimated that real GDP will decline by 1.9 percent in 2009, down from the CEOs’ zero percent estimate in the fourth quarter of 2008.

"This is a consumer driven economy both here and abroad, and the consumer right now isn't spending, so our CEOs are reflecting that in terms of their plans for capital expenditures, employment and sales," Castellani said. "That's why this index is at minus five for the first time since doing it."

Read the Complete Business Roundtable Survey