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U.S. CEOs lower expectations on sales, hiring and capital spending

June 20, 2012|By Ricardo Lopez
  • Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing Co., on why top U.S. executives have reduced some of their expectations.
Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing Co., on why top U.S. executives have reduced… (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg )

Concerns over Europe's debt crisis and political gridlock caused top U.S. CEOs to soften their expectations on hiring, sales and capital spending in the next six months, according to survey results released Wednesday.

The Business Roundtable's quarterly CEO Economic Outlook Index dropped from 96.9 last quarter to 89.1 for the second quarter of 2012. The index can range from 150 to negative 50, with a figure above 50 signifying economic expansion and below 50 indicating a contraction. 

The group's chairman, Boeing Co. Chief Executive Jim McNerney, said that "continued political wrangling in D.C." is causing "continued concern" among members of the Roundtable, which represents top U.S. companies.

Problems in the Eurozone also worry U.S. firms. "Most American large corporations are exposed to Europe in terms of sales and costs," McNerney said. They are "more concerned about the impact on sales."

Of the 164 executives surveyed, 75% expected sales to grow in the next six months, down from 81% last quarter. Additionally 43% said they would increase capital spending, a slight decrease from 48% last quarter. And only 33% expected to hire more workers, a drop of 6%.  


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