As the Trump Administration keeps piling on tariffs, U.S. stocktraders are averting their gaze and holding on tight. Corporatefinance chiefs are having a more difficult time.

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Optimism among North American CFOs fell across the board in thethird quarter, driven by worry over trade policy and internal riskssuch as recruiting and maintaining top talent, according to asurvey released by Deloitte LLP on Thursday. After hitting anall-time high in the first quarter of this year, a measure of CFOs'optimism about their own companies' prospects fell for the secondstraight period to the lowest in a year.

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“CFO optimism, while still strong, appears to be on the retreatamid concerns around global trade and interest rates, combined withthe evolving challenge to both identify finance talent and equipteams with the analytical skills they need,” Sandy Cockrell, theDeloitte Global CFO Program leader, wrote in an accompanyingreport.

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Deloitte collected responses from more than 130 CFOs in NorthAmerica, most from companies with more than $1 billion in annualrevenue. The survey was conducted from Aug. 6 to Aug. 17, a periodengulfed with discussion of the potential for the U.S. to implementfurther trade tariffs on China and a lead up to NAFTA negotiations.Most respondents work in the financial services and manufacturingindustries.

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The findings echo a similar tone expressed in the FederalReserve's latest beige book, an anecdotal publication abouteconomic conditions gleaned from interviews and questionnairesacross the 12 Fed districts. Businesses are generally optimisticabout the near-term outlook, though there is concern about tradetensions, particularly among manufacturers, according to the Augustreport.

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From: Bloomberg

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