CFOs' views on the U.S. economy deteriorated a bit in the second quarter, even though their outlook is still far rosier than it was a year ago. The quarterly survey of CFOs conducted by Financial Executives International and Baruch College's Zicklin School of Business shows the CFO optimism index fell to 48.14 in the second quarter from 53.60 in the first quarter, while CFOs' outlook for their own companies declined to 67.40 from 69.49.
Recent events are probably to blame for the deterioration in sentiment, says John Elliott, Dean of Baruch College's Zicklin School of Business. "We saw the oil spill. We saw the European fiscal crisis. We've seen concerns over the sustainability of Asian growth rates," Elliott says. "You look at every one of those factors and they just add uncertainty." The enactment of both healthcare reform and financial regulatory reform have compounded that uncertainty, he says.