U.S. CEO Confidence On The Rise

U.S. chief executive officers are "cautiously optimistic" about their own companies, their industry and the national economy, the Conference Board said Jan. 12. The business research group said its quarterly CEO confidence index rose to 56 in the fourth quarter from 50 in the third quarter. The index was 61 in the fourth quarter of 2004 and peaked at 73 in the first quarter of 2004.

"Much of the improvement in confidence can be attributed to the resiliency of the economy post-Katrina and the recent declines in fuel prices," said Lynn Franco, research chief of the Conference Board.

"Despite the rebound, CEOs were less confident at the close of 2005 than at the start. Looking ahead, they are cautiously optimistic, but not as optimistic about the short-term outlook as they were at the end of 2004."

The CEOs expect to raise their prices by an average of 3.4% in 2006.

CEOs' assessment of current conditions improved, with some 44% saying economic conditions are better, up from 34% in the third quarter.

The executives were also more optimistic about the short-term outlook than they were in the third quarter of 2005. Nearly 41% of business leaders expected economic conditions to improve in the next six months, up from 34% last quarter.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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