By John S. McClenahen During the past 18 months there's been a 19% decline in the number of senior U.S. company executives who list meeting analysts' quarterly financial expectations as a top priority, indicates a study from Boston-based Mercer Management Consulting. During the same period, the study says, better meeting customer needs has risen 16% as a strategic goal. Among European executives, the decline of those listing meeting analysts' expectations as a strategic priority was 8%, less than half the percentage shift in the U.S. However, 19% more European executives than 18 months ago said meeting customer needs was a priority. The study involved 123 senior executives across a variety of industries in 11 countries and was conducted in late-February and March of this year.