CEOs less confident about economy: Roundtable

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 14, 2011 9:34 AM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The chief executive officers of large U.S. companies expect higher sales and higher capital spending in the next six months, but their optimism about economic conditions and expectations for growth are more muted than three months ago, according to a quarterly survey.

The survey by Business Roundtable, an association of U.S. CEOs, found 51 percent expected to add U.S. jobs in the second half of the year, while 61 percent would boost capital spending. Both measures are down slightly from the previous quarter.

"This continues a positive trend for our companies' activity heading into the second half of 2011," said Verizon Communications Inc CEO Ivan Seidenberg, the Roundtable's chairman.

The proportion of U.S. CEOs expecting higher sales -- 87 percent -- fell 5 percentage points from the first quarter.

Overall, the Roundtable's index of executives' economic outlook dipped to 109.9 from a record high of 113 in the first quarter.

Expectations for economic growth also dipped, with CEOs now predicting the U.S. economy will grow by 2.8 percent this year. That is down from a forecast of 2.9 percent growth three months ago.

Business Roundtable's CEO Economic Outlook Survey, conducted quarterly since 2002, was completed between May 16 and June 3 and includes responses from 135 member CEOs.

Member companies represent about a third of U.S. stock market valuation and almost $3 trillion in annual revenues.

(Reporting by Nick Zieminski; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)