Optimism among chief financialofficers in the U.S. held near an all-time high in the secondquarter, while the hiring and retaining of workers in a tight labormarket remained a top concern.An index of CFO sentiment was littlechanged at 71.1 after a first-quarter reading of 71.2 that was thehighest since the survey began in 1996, according to a reportWednesday from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and CFOMagazine. The survey of 228 companies was conducted from May 22 toJune 8.Companies expect wages and salaries to increase 4.1 percenton average over the next 12 months, up from a 3.9 percent averagein the previous survey. Low unemployment is putting pressure onU.S. firms, as 41 percent of CFOs said attracting and retainingqualified employees was among their main concerns—the biggest shareof any choice. Government policies came in second at 31 percent,little changed from the prior survey.Company officers' expectationsfor average growth in capital spending fell 2.7 points from theprevious quarter, to 8.3 percent. Concerns about data security alsoremained high: Almost a fifth of the U.S. CFOs said their computersystems have been hacked. In response, 71 percent have installednew software or procedures to further protect their businesses,according to the Duke survey.“Ten years ago, cybersecurity was nota C-suite responsibility. Now it is,” Duke professor Cam Harvey, afounding director of the survey, said in a statement. “To fightthis battle costs money, which falls right off the bottomline.”

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