Florham Park, N.J. (Oct. 2, 2003) -- Chief financial officers at U.S. companies think the economy’s looking up and are more bullish about their own company’s prospects, a new survey has found.

Three out of four CFOs reported they are more optimistic about the economy this quarter than they were last quarter, and only 8 percent said they were less optimistic, according to the September “CFO Outlook Survey” conducted by Financial Executives International and Duke University.

The CFO optimism about the economy is reflected in higher expectations about Gross Domestic Product, with average expectation of 2.9% over the coming year. This prediction is higher than any GDP prediction during the past three quarters. CFOs are also more optimistic about their own companies than they have been since the survey began in June 2002. Two-thirds are more optimistic about their companies' financial prospects this quarter. Eighty-five percent of the surveyed CFOs expect corporate earnings to increase in the coming year, with an average increase of 16.9% over the next 12 months. Revenues are expected to increase for 87% of firms, with an average increase in revenues of 8.1%.

"CFOs are out in front of what is happening in the company and play a key role in investment decisions -- capital spending and people," said FEI President Colleen Sayther. "Hopefully, this cautious optimism is a catalyst for new investment."

-- WebCPA staff

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