Survey: CEOs more confident

A measure of confidence among business executives has rebounded on more upbeat assessments of current conditions as well as more optimistic expectations for the first half of the new year.

The Conference Board reported that its Measure of CEO Confidence jumped six points to 60 for the fourth quarter of 2013. The gain nearly offset an eight-point drop for the third quarter. Readings above 50 reflect more positive than negative responses.

“CEO confidence bounded back in the fourth quarter as the pre-government shutdown uncertainty that was prevalent (in the third

quarter) abated,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators for the Conference Board, a business research and membership association.

Chief executive officers responding to the survey upon which the fourth quarter results were based were more upbeat in their assessment of current economic conditions — 44 percent said conditions were better than six months ago, up from 33 percent in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, 41 percent of CEOs said conditions had improved in their industries, up nine points.

Business leaders were positive in their assessment of current conditions not only in the United States, but also Europe and Japan.

Looking ahead, 50 percent of executives said they expect economic conditions to improve over the next six months, up from 42 percent in the third quarter. At the same time, 47 percent of CEOs said they anticipate improving conditions in their industries, up 13 points.

Expectations were slightly improved for nearly every region except Japan. The outlook for Brazil and India remained pessimistic, however.