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CEO confidence bounces back

January 14, 2003

Conference Board survey shows chief execs. lifting their heads

Inman News Features

Chief executives' confidence in the nation's economy increased last quarter after falling for two consecutive quarters, according to data released by The Conference Board.

The business confidence survey, which had declined to 54 in the third quarter of 2002, rebounded to 58 in the final quarter of 2002. A reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses.

Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center, said the rise in optimism "does not suggest a dramatic acceleration in economic growth during the first half of 2003."

CEO expectations for the next six months advanced to 63, up from 60 in the third quarter. CEO expectations for their own industries were also more upbeat, with The Conference Board measure improving modestly to 59 from 58.

Less than 27 percent of chief executives believe the U.S. economy has worsened over the past six months, down from more than 29 percent in the third quarter.

The majority of chief executives expect to raise their companies' selling prices this year, with 6 percent anticipating price increases of 10 percent or more. Approximately 20 percent of CEOs expect decreases, and approximately 31 percent foresee no change in their pricing practices.

The average company plans very moderate price hikes of about 1.3 percent.

The business confidence survey is based on quarterly surveys of more than 100 chief executives representing a wide variety of U.S. industries.

The Conference Board is a nonprofit organization that conducts research about management and the marketplace.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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