Mar 20, 2019

Business Roundtable survey shows declining CEO optimism

Business Roundtable chairman Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Business Roundtable's first quarter survey of more than 130 of the nation's top CEOs showed that chief executives dialed back expectations that they would see increased revenue, hire more workers and invest in capital expenditures over the next six months.

Why it matters: This marks the fourth consecutive quarter that the BRT's Economic Outlook Index has dropped. Sentiment surveys like these are watched closely because of their forward-looking nature, which could hint at what's ahead for the economy. If companies do rein in plans for hiring and spending — key drivers of growth — it could have big implications for an economy that's already feared to be slowing.

Details:

  • The index fell 9.2 points to 95.2 in the first quarter, but remains above the index's historical average of 82.4.
  • Plans for hiring fell 11 points, while expectations for sales and plans for capital investment dropped 9.6 and 6.9 points, respectively.
  • CEOs said GDP would come in at 2.5% this year, down from their previous estimate of 2.7% last quarter.

The bottom line: The results reflect uncertainty about slowing economies around the world.

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Updates: George Floyd protests continue for 9th day

Demonstrators march on Pennsylvania Avenue on June 3. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Largely peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Wednesday, marking nine straight days of demonstrations.

The latest: As several major cities moved to lift curfews, NYPD officers "aggressively" dispersed large crowds in Brooklyn and Manhattan beyond New York City's 8 p.m. curfew, per the New York Times. The National Guard was stationed outside many protests Wednesday night, including in Hollywood and Atlanta.

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.