The turmoil in world markets coupled with the mortgage industry meltdown has sent economic confidence plunging nearly 10 percent among CFOs, according to a survey conducted by Financial Executives International and Baruch College's Zicklin School of Business.In its 2007 fourth quarter "CFO Outlook Survey," the CFO Optimism Index for the U.S. economy was at 56.26, a 10-percent decline since last quarter and a full 19 percent drop from where it was in the year-ago period. Nearly 100 percent of the CFOs polled indicated they are as concerned, or more concerned about a recession than last quarter, while over 95 percent report being as concerned or more about inflation than they were the previous period.

CFOs in the poll cited the economy as the issue of utmost importance when evaluating prospective presidential candidates. When CFOs were asked what, in their view, were the top priority issues when evaluating the 2008 U.S. presidential candidates, 72 percent selected the economy, followed by the Iraq war and taxes.

CFOs believe the top economic worries for 2008 are economic growth and consumer spending. Over 47 percent of those surveyed consider growth to be the biggest economic worry. Consumer spending and demand was the second-most selected economic worry, cited by 30 percent of respondents.

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