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Optimism level drops among CEOs

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Optimism among U.S. CEOs fell in the second quarter from a record high as fewer business leaders projected that sales will climb, Bloomberg reported.

The Business Roundtable’s economic outlook index decreased to 109.9 for the April through June period from a 113 reading in the previous three months that was the highest in data that dates to 2002. Figures greater than 50 coincide with an economic expansion.

Eighty-seven percent of the 135 CEOs surveyed said they expected a gain in sales in the next six months, down from 92 percent in the first quarter, a sign that hiring and business investment may be slow to accelerate.

Elevated confidence among executives contrasts with pessimism among American consumers, whose spending makes up 70 percent of the economy. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped to a nine-month low in May as gasoline prices climbed.

The Business Roundtable is an association of CEOs of corporations representing a combined work force of more than 13 million employees and almost $6 trillion in annual revenues.

Fifty-one percent of CEOs said they will add to payrolls, down from 52 percent in the first quarter. Sixty-one percent said they plan to spend more on equipment, down from 62 percent.

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