Industry News

CEO confidence grows gloomier

Fewer execs believe economy is improving

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Chief executives' confidence in the nation's economy, which had fallen to 63 in the third quarter of 2004, fell again in the fourth quarter, finishing at 61. A reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses. While CEOs continue to rate current conditions favorably, they are less confident than in the third quarter of 2004. Only slightly more than half of CEOs surveyed claim that current economic conditions are better than six months ago, down from nearly two-thirds last quarter. In assessing their own industries, only 46 percent of survey participants say conditions are better, down from 57 percent in the third quarter. "CEO confidence has now slipped for three consecutive quarters," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "However, expectations are that the economy will continue to grow in 2005, just not as fast as it did in the first half of 2004." CEOs also expressed less confidence in the short-term outlook tha...