Finance

Economic confidence among CEOs drops for fourth straight quarter

Economic confidence among the nation's top CEOs fell for a fourth consecutive quarter and slid to its lowest level since 2017, according to a new survey by the Business Roundtable.

Sales expectations and plans for capital spending and hiring over the next six months fell in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Business Roundtable's CEO Economic Outlook Index released Wednesday.

The index, which has averaged 82.4 over the previous nine quarters, fell to 95.2, down 9.2 points from the fourth quarter of 2018.

Business Roundtable President and CEO Joshua Bolten called the results a "modest decline."

"I don't think the tide needs to be turned here," he said on a press call with reporters Wednesday. "The tide is still running very strongly positively but our CEOs, I believe, are taking account of slowing growth elsewhere around the world and some geopolitical uncertainty."

He also mentioned a "strong boost" the companies received from tax reform and "slowing growth" in Asia and Europe.

The Business Roundtable surveyed 139 chief executives from Feb. 20 to March 8.

When asked whether the federal government's partial shutdown this year affected CEO confidence, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who is also chairman of the Business Roundtable, said, "For the most part, that was a negative to people's confidence."

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