New York (Nov. 21, 2002) -- Predicting a bleak economic outlook for 2003, most middle market chief financial officers plan to focus on containing costs to maintain their companies' financial health during the next year, according to a survey by American Express.

More than two-thirds of middle market CFOs believe that the economy will stay flat, act erratically or decline further in 2003, American Express reported. As a result, most managers polled will rely on containing costs to maintain the financial health of their firms during the next year, according to the survey of 485 middle market CFOs.

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