Despite a challenging business environment, chief financial officers' optimism about the economy and their own companies' financial prospects remains high, according to a recent poll.

In spite of high oil prices, increases in health-care costs and added expenses to protect their companies from a possible terrorist attack, CFOs' economic optimism averaged 71.98 out of 100, just off last quarter's record high of 73.55, according to the September "CFO Outlook Survey," conducted by Financial Executives International and Baruch College's Zicklin School of Business. Optimism about company prospects was also virtually unchanged at a near record high of 76.06.

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