CHICAGO — The top executives of America's largest companies have grown more cautious about the economic outlook, according to a survey released Monday by the Business Roundtable, but they still expect growth despite the turmoil in the world's credit markets and what it characterized as the "recession" in U.S. housing.
The group said its CEO economic outlook index dropped to 77.4 in the third quarter from 81.9 in the second quarter. Any reading above 50 in the index reflects expectations of growth in the coming six months.
The CEOs' forecast of U.S. gross domestic product growth this year also declined. The group now expects 2.4% GDP growth in 2007, down from an earlier forecast of 2.6%.
Harold McGraw III, the group's chairman and the president of McGraw-Hill Cos., characterized the deterioration in CEO sentiment as "a slight dip." He said it reflected expectations that the U.S. economy would "settle into a pattern of softer growth," despite what he said was a "recession" in the U.S. real estate market.