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US CEOs cautious on economy, spending: survey

[NEW YORK] US chief executives are cautious about the economy's near-term prospects and expect to trim capital spending over the next six months, according to a survey by the Business Roundtable.

The survey showed CEOs expect US gross domestic product to grow 2.4 per cent this year, compared with their projection of a 2.5 per cent increase a quarter earlier.

Of the 141 CEOs who responded to the third-quarter survey, 20 per cent said they expect a decrease in their company's capital spending in the United States in the next six months, up from 13 per cent in the second-quarter survey.

Nearly a third of the CEOs polled said they expect US employment to fall, up from 26 per cent in the prior survey.

Nearly two-thirds of the CEOs said they expected their companies' US sales to increase in the next six months, down from 70 per cent a quarter earlier. About 11 per cent said they expect US sales to decline, up from 7 per cent.

"The downward trend in CEO plans for investment and hiring continues to reflect reasonable caution regarding near-term prospects for modest US growth," said Randall Stephenson, chairman of Business Roundtable and chief executive of AT&T Inc.

The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index, an index of expectations for the next six months for sales, capital spending and employment, slipped to 74.1 from 81.3 in the second quarter.

REUTERS