On January 3, 2019, The Conference Board released the 4th Quarter Measure Of CEO Confidence. The overall measure of CEO Confidence was at 42, down from 55 in the third quarter. [note: a reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses]
Notable excerpts from this January 3, 2019 Press Release include:
CEOs’ assessment of current economic conditions turned pessimistic in the fourth quarter, with only 21 percent saying conditions are better compared to six months ago, down from 49 percent last quarter. Meanwhile, about 39 percent say conditions are worse, up from less than 8 percent in the prior quarter. CEOs were also much more negative about current conditions in their own industries compared to six months ago. Now, just 21 percent say conditions are better, down from 31 percent last quarter, while those who say conditions have worsened rose to 35 percent, up from 25 percent last quarter.
Looking ahead, CEOs’ expectations regarding the economic outlook have also turned negative. Now, just 12 percent expect economic conditions to improve over the next six months, down from 23 percent in the third quarter. Meanwhile, about 54 percent expect economic conditions will worsen, compared to 22 percent last quarter. CEOs’ expectations regarding short-term prospects in their own industries over the next six months were also more pessimistic. Now, only 14 percent anticipate an improvement in conditions, down from 22 percent last quarter, while 44 percent expect conditions to worsen, up from 19 percent in the third quarter.
Last month, the Business Roundtable also released its CEO Economic Outlook Survey for the 4th Quarter of 2018. Notable excerpts from the December 7 release, titled “Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Remains Strong“:
Declining 4.9 points from 109.3 in the third quarter of 2018, the Q4 2018 CEO Economic Outlook Index of 104.4 ranks among the top 10 percent of all readings in the survey’s 16-year history and is well above the historical average of 82.1. This is the eighth straight quarter where the Index has exceeded its historical average, signaling a continued positive direction for the U.S. economy.
In their first estimate of 2019 U.S. GDP growth, CEOs projected 2.7 percent growth for the year ahead.
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 2584.96 as this post is written