A key indicator that measures chief executives' confidence in the economy fell below 50 for the first time in nearly five years, signaling a disappointing outlook for 2007, The Conference Board reported today in a third-quarter survey. The Chief Executives' Confidence Measure, which had fallen to 50 in the second quarter of 2006, dropped to 44 in the third quarter, the lowest reading since the final quarter of 2001 when it registered 40. A reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses. The survey includes about 100 business leaders in a wide range of industries. "The lack of confidence expressed by CEOs is a result of the recent slowdown in economic growth, combined with expectations that this lackluster pace of growth will carry over into the beginning months of 2007," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. CEOs' assessment of current conditions weakened further in the third quarter. Now, only 16 percent of CEOs c...
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