With 41% of respondents to Treasury & Risk's Biannual Economic Confidence Survey saying they expect the Fed to lower short-term rates by 50 basis points or more by the end of 2007, it's safe to say the consensus among finance executives is for a softer year. Just how much of a slowdown is likely to depend, to a large extent, on how severe the biggest threats to the U.S. economy–scaled-back consumer spending and volatile oil prices–turn out to be. The survey of 201 large company CFOs, treasurers and controllers was taken between Dec. 11 and Dec. 19 2006.

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