December 2012 Duke/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey – Notable Excerpts

On December 12 the December Duke/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey (pdf) was released.  It contains a variety of statistics regarding how CFOs view business and economic conditions.

In this CFO Survey, I found the following to be the most notable excerpt:

The fiscal cliff is among the greatest concerns affecting the corporate sector, trailing only weak consumer demand among external concerns. Worries about governmental policies, intense price pressure and the federal budget deficit round out top external concerns of CFOs.

The difficulty in maintaining profit margins is the top concern of internal U.S. firms. Other worries include the cost of health care, attracting and retaining skilled workers, and employee morale.

“These concerns have led to a continued erosion of optimism about the U.S. economy,” said Kate O’Sullivan, editorial director at CFO Magazine. ”Optimism has fallen to 51 out of 100, down from 60 last spring, and even slightly below Europe. This is worrisome because historically reduced optimism foretells slower economic activity over the next year.”

The CFO survey contains the Optimism Index chart, showing U.S. Optimism (with regard to the economy) at 51, as seen below:

Duke CFO Optimism 12-12-12

It should be interesting to see how well the CFOs predict business and economic conditions going forward.   I discussed various aspects of this, and the importance of these predictions, in the July 9 2010 post titled “The Business Environment”.

(past posts on CEO and CFO Surveys can be found under the “CFO and CEO Confidence” tag)


I post various economic forecasts because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this blog are aware, I do not necessarily agree with many of the consensus estimates and much of the commentary in these forecast surveys.


The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 1419.83 as this post is written