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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

Hope King, author of Closer
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

First look: Senators propose bill to ban corporate PACs

Sens. Jon Ossoff and Mark Kelly. Photos: Chip Somodevilla (left), Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) will soon propose a bill prohibiting for-profit corporations from establishing and managing political action committees, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The introduction of "The Ban Corporate PACs Act" comes amid heightened scrutiny on Capitol Hill regarding money in politics, including efforts to bar companies from influencing political campaigns and federal elections. It would likely face a court challenge and First Amendment concerns.

3 hours ago - Technology

Exclusive: YouTube shuts down two Oath Keepers channels

Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers. (Photo: Aaron C. Davis/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

YouTube has deactivated two channels linked to the Oath Keepers militia group whose members have been charged in relation to the January 6 Capitol riot, the company told Axios.

The big picture: Social media platforms that were used to plan or promote the Capitol attack have moved with varying degrees of speed to bar the accounts involved.