CEO Confidence Declines Again, The Conference Board Reports

NEW YORK, Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence™, which fell in the second quarter, declined again in the third quarter. The Measure now reads 42, down from 47 in the previous quarter (a reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses).

Says Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board: "This latest report reflects ongoing concern about the strength of the economy. CEOs' assessment of current conditions remains weak and they have grown increasingly pessimistic about the short-term outlook. Sluggish growth and a persistent cloud of uncertainty have played a role in CEOs curtailing spending plans this year."

CEOs' assessment of current economic conditions has grown more pessimistic, with just 9 percent stating conditions have improved compared to six months ago, down from 17 percent last quarter. Chief executives are also more negative in assessing their own industries. Now, just 14 percent of business leaders say conditions have improved, compared with 22 percent in the second quarter.

CEOs' optimism about the short-term outlook has also declined. Currently, less than 12 percent of business leaders expect economic conditions to improve over the next six months, down from 20 percent last quarter. Expectations for their own industries are also more pessimistic, with just 15 percent of CEOs anticipating an improvement in conditions in the months ahead, down from 25 percent in the second quarter.

More CEOs Trimming Capital Spending Plans
Nearly one-third of chief executives report scaling back on their companies' capital spending plans since January of this year, while less than 10 percent have increased spending, based on a supplementary question asked each year in the third quarter. Last year, 22 percent of respondents had increased their capital spending plans and 23 percent had made cuts. A decline in sales volume is a major reason for cutting back on spending plans.

Survey results were fielded from mid-August to mid-September
Source: CEO Confidence 3rd Quarter 2012
The Conference Board

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