Survey Shows Executives Optimistic About First-Quarter Sales

According to Dun & Bradstreet Corp.s International Survey of Business Expectations, executives in developed economic markets worldwide predict that first-quarter sales levels will remain healthy, despite small global declines in nearly every category. "Despite slight declines in a few key indexes, this surveys optimism levels reflect continued worldwide confidence in a fundamentally healthy global economy," says Joseph W. Duncan, chief economic advisor to The Dun & Bradstreet Corp. "Overall, expectation levels remain quite high, and well within range of all-time highs. Strong productivity levels, relative political stability, and an overall low inflation environment seem to argue against fears that the economic problems in much of Asia will provide a significant drag on the global economy, at least in the short term." Optimism levels dropped the most in Hong Kong, a region hard hit by a serious debt crisis. Expectations for net sales there fell 29 points, to 20. Net profits expectations dropped 22 points, from 40 to 18. Executives in every region, except Europe, said they expect growth levels to dip somewhat in the first quarter of 1998.

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