Top U.S. executives are becoming more hopeful about the global economy and the U.S. business outlook, according to a survey of business leaders released on Thursday.
More than 60 percent of corporate leaders surveyed by the Business Council in October now expect conditions in their own industry to improve over the next six months. In contrast, almost 90 percent of those surveyed in February said conditions were worsening.
The change is a welcome reversal of the doom and gloom that plagued outlooks earlier this year, James Dimon, Business Council vice chairman and JPMorgan Chase & Co
More than half of the Business Council members say they expect the global economy to continue to improve moderately during the next six months.
The Business Council is an association of top executives whose members meet several times a year to discuss major business issues.
Some 70 percent of the survey respondents said they expected the retail sector to show continued moderate improvement.
These results are encouraging, given that consumer confidence is rated the single most important factor in shaping the outlook for 2010, according to the survey, which was compiled by the Conference Board.
CEOs said their ability to raise prices had improved. More than 53 percent said pricing power had stabilized, and 26 percent said prices were rising.
Still, executives remain cautious about next year. The majority of Business Council members expect the U.S. economy to grow at a rate of 2 percent or less during the first half of 2010.
But worries about inflation prompted almost 46 percent of CEOs to say that the U.S. government should begin to unwind its massive asset purchases to avoid inflationary pressures. In May, just 15 percent of respondents had supported the measure.
(Reporting by Chelsea Emery; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)