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'Uh-Oh': A CFO survey turns ominous

Roy Harris | Oct. 12, 2011
One monthly measurement of the nation's business pulse, taken mainly among CFOs of mid-sized companies, shows a major weakening in September. And the finance-heavy executive group also has lower expectations for October and November.

Mixed, too, were capital spending survey results. A small increase, to 23% from 21%, was registered among those boosting cap-ex in September, with the percentage spending less falling to 16% from 26%. Meanwhile, 29% said they expected to increase spending in the next two months, up from 27% saying that in August. Those expecting to commit less to cap-ex grew to 17% from 13%.

Tatum's Frank Schools, who helped compile and analyze the results, says that respondents expecting to spend less "are obviously responding to the negative conditions and the need to conserve cash and/or minimize debt." Meanwhile, he points out, the increase in those planning to spend more may reflect how "many of our respondents have been postponing cap ex all year, and the next 60 days encompasses the virtual end of the year when capital budgets run out of time."


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