On January 4, 2018, The Conference Board released the 4th Quarter Measure Of CEO Confidence. The overall measure of CEO Confidence was at 63, up from 59 in the third quarter. [note: a reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses]
Notable excerpts from this January 4 Press Release include:
CEOs’ assessment of current economic conditions improved considerably. Currently, 71 percent say conditions are better compared to six months ago, up from 56 percent in the third quarter. However, CEOs are moderately less optimistic in their appraisal of current conditions in their own industries. Now, 49 percent say conditions in their own industries have improved, down from 53 percent last quarter.
Looking ahead, CEOs’ expectations regarding the short-term outlook was significantly better. Now, 47 percent expect economic conditions to improve over the next six months, compared to just 39 percent last quarter. CEOs were also more upbeat about short-term prospects in their own industries over the next six months, with 41 percent anticipating conditions will improve, versus 36 percent in the third quarter of 2017.
The Business Roundtable last month also released its CEO Economic Outlook Survey for the 4th Quarter of 2017. Notable excerpts from the December 5, 2017 release, titled “Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index Reaches Highest Level in Nearly Six Years“:
The Business Roundtable Q4 CEO Economic Outlook Index — a composite of CEO projections for sales and plans for capital spending and hiring over the next six months — increased to 96.8 for the fourth quarter of 2017, up from 94.5 in the third quarter.
The Index reached its highest level since the first quarter of 2012 (96.9). The Index has significantly exceeded its historical average of 80.3 for four quarters in a row and remains well above 50, suggesting that CEOs continue to expect the U.S. economy to expand at a healthy pace.
CEO plans for capital investment rose to their highest level since the second quarter of 2011. Expectations for sales picked up by 5.1 points. Hiring plans dipped 4.5 points from Q3, but remain near their highest level in four years.
In their first GDP estimate for 2018, CEOs project 2.5 percent GDP growth for the year.
Additional details can be seen in the sources mentioned above.
I post various economic forecasts because I believe they should be carefully monitored. However, as those familiar with this site 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 2747.71 as this post is written