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Expect at least two Fed rate hikes in 2016: CFO survey

It's all eyes on the Federal Reserve for investors this week, ahead of the central bank's last FOMC meeting of 2015, and CFOs have largely come around to the market view that the Fed will raise rates for the first time since the financial crisis. Over 90 percent of CNBC Global CFO Council members predict that this week's meeting will produce a Fed interest-rate hike (compared to 28 percent in a September poll).

The CME Group FedWatch is showing the implied probability of a rate raise at more than 80 percent.

In addition to predicting the Fed's first interest-rate raise since 2006, an overwhelming majority of surveyed CFO Council members — representing more than $2 trillion in market capitalization — think at least two or more rate hikes will take place in 2016.

The CFOs' conviction that the Fed is ready to act doesn't mean financial officers are wholly confident in the state of the U.S. economy: 15 percent of CFOs rated the U.S. economy as "declining," up from 6 percent of survey members who held that negative view of the economy in September.



CFOs to Jeb: You can't win

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush
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Former Florida governor Jeb Bush

As Jeb Bush fights to gain back support for his bid to become the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, the elite group of business leaders that once rated Bush's fortunes very highly says it's a battle the former Florida governor just can't win.

When asked in May and September who they thought would win the GOP nomination, more than 70 percent of CFO Council members picked Bush as the likely winner. But in the latest CFO survey, Bush tumbled to just 4 percent, while Florida Senator Marco Rubio catapulted to the top of the pack at 58 percent. In September, Rubio failed to receive even one vote from council members.

In other important respects, too, the CNBC CFO Council is reflecting the evolution of the GOP race. Donald Trump managed to finally grab the attention of chief financial officers.

Fifteen percent of CFOs think that Trump, the GOP front-runner, is likely to win the nomination. It also marked the first time a single CNBC CFO Council member said they believed the real estate tycoon is likely to win.

Ted Cruz also showed up on the council's radar for the first time, with 12 percent of CFOs saying the Texas Senator is likely to get the nomination.

The CFO Council includes some of the world's biggest companies, among them AT&T, Cisco, Delta, Ford and Johnson & Johnson.

Complete survey results below: