Surprisingly, even the sullen CFOs had good things to say about the North American economy overall, including Mexico and Canada, with optimism for the continent declining only slightly even as a measure of net optimism for U.S. companies plummeted 26 points.
"We're still scratching our heads on that a little bit," said Sandy Cockrell, global CFO program leader for Deloitte. "It's more that the U.S. economy specifically, as opposed to North America, could in fact really pull back."
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More than 70 percent of U.S. CFOs said the equity markets are overpriced—only 3 percent said they were undervalued—and the percentage of finance chiefs who said equity financing is an attractive option rose significantly.
Debt financing also remains popular, with an overwhelming 91 percent calling it an attractive option. But if the Federal Reserve decides to raise rates, which Chair Janet Yellen said it likely will later this year, issuing bonds could become less attractive.
Based on Cockrell's conversations with executives, he said the consequences of a rate hike are on the front of many CFO's minds.
"It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when, interest rates will start to rise," he said.