If you had to describe President Donald Trump's management style in one word, what would it be? That's the open-ended question we asked the members of the CNBC Global CFO Council in our quarterly survey. Here are their responses, in alphabetical order:
- Chaotic (4 CFOs gave this response)
- Erratic (2 CFOs)
- Reckless (2 CFOs)
- There are no words
- Unpredictable (2 CFOs)
Responses to the CNBC Global CFO Survey are anonymous. Thirty-five of the 39 CFOs who completed the survey responded to this question.
The CNBC Global CFO Council represents some of the largest public and private companies in the world, collectively managing more than $4 trillion in market capitalization across a wide variety of sectors. The quarterly CFO Council poll was conducted from June 2–16.
The responses help to explain why CFOs are significantly more pessimistic now than they were three months ago about Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress' ability to enact key agenda items into law by the end of the year.
As a group, CFOs are 44 percent confident that corporate tax reform will get done in 2017. They were 59 percent confident in February. Confidence in overseas cash repatriation fell from 63 percent in February to 48 percent, and expectations for a large infrastructure plan fell from 58 percent to 49 percent.
Meanwhile, some of Trump's recent accomplishments have been met with concern and outright opposition. Fifty-nine percent of CFOs say they are somewhat concerned that the president's recent confrontation with Germany over trade imbalances could lead to a trade war between the two countries or between the United States and the European Union. Another 5 percent are "very concerned."
While faith in the Trump agenda has declined dramatically, overall bullishness has only fallen slightly among the CFOs. A majority (59 percent) still say the Dow is more likely to top 22,000 before it retreats below the 20,000 mark. But that number is down from 68 percent in February.
Around the world, the council's outlook for GDP in Canada and the euro zone moved from "stable" to "improving." And no region was seen as worse than "stable" for the second consecutive quarter. The U.S. economic situation was seen as "improving" for the fourth consecutive quarter.