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JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A closely-watched index of CEO hiring, sales and spending plans declined again, according to a survey of some of the biggest corporations in the U.S. by Business Roundtable, their trade group.

Why it matters: The survey has shown declining optimism for almost two years. As we get closer to the 2020 election, the record-high CEO optimism levels that peaked during Trump’s presidency have now vanished — largely thanks to trade war uncertainty.

Details: CEOs are “cautious in the face of uncertainty over trade policy and an associated slowdown in global growth and the U.S. manufacturing sector,“ Business Roundtable points out. The survey was conducted prior to reports of progress with USMCA and a potential delay in another round of tariffs on Chinese imports.

  • CEO plans for hiring and capital appending — two key drivers of economic growth — fell quarter over quarter.
  • Expectations for sales growth, though, increased.

What they’re saying: “There has been progress in several policy areas that has strengthened the U.S. economy from top to bottom—but more progress needs to be made on free and fair trade agreements,” Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan CEO and chairman of Business Roundtable said in a press release.

  • “CEOs are justified in their caution about the state of the U.S. economy. While we have achieved a competitive tax environment, uncertainty surrounding trade policy and slowing global growth are creating headwinds for business,” said Joshua Bolten, Business Roundtable’s CEO.

The bottom line: While recession fears have abated for now, the results reflect the corporate America’s pessimism about the future of the economy — which could impact hiring and spending decisions.

Go deeper: U.S. economy surprises with 266,000 new jobs in November

Go deeper

10 mins ago - Health

Johnson & Johnson says booster shot increases efficacy of COVID vaccine

Syringes and a vial of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in French Polynesia on Sept. 8. Photo: Jerome Brouillet/AFP via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson said in a press release Tuesday a global study showed that the protection offered by its coronavirus vaccine was strengthened by a booster shot.

Why it matters: While J&J has not formally applied for authorization to offer booster shots to the general public, it said it has shared the results of the study with the Food and Drug Administration and plans to share it with the World Health Organization and other health regulators.

1 hour ago - World

U.K. prosecutors charge third person in poisoning of former Russian spy

Emergency services members in biohazard encapsulated suits encasing the poisoning scene in a tent in Salisbury, England, in March 2018. Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

U.K. prosecutors said they had enough evidence to charge Denis Sergeev, a member of the Russian military intelligence service, in the 2018 Salisbury nerve agent attack against a former Russian spy, according to AP.

Why it matters: Sergeev is the third person to face charges for the nerve agent attack against Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, both of whom survived.

2 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: More boycotts coming for Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Leaders of the Stop Hate For Profit social media boycott group are discussing whether to organize another campaign against Facebook in light of an explosive investigative series from the Wall Street Journal, Common Sense CEO Jim Steyer tells Axios.

The intrigue: Sources tell Axios that another group, separate from the Stop Hate For Profit organization, is expected to launch its own ad boycott campaign this week.