Glass half full for CEOs

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CEO confidence in the U.S. economy fell again in the final quarter of 2007.

A report from the Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence shows executive optimism ratings have fallen to 39 – a score of less than 50 reflects a generally negative response from most CEOs.

The last time the measure fell below 40 was in the last quarter of 2000.

CEO’s assessment of current economic conditions was less positive than in previous quarters, with just 7 percent of CEOs stating economic conditions had improved. In assessing their own industry, business leaders were less optimistic – approximately 15 percent claim conditions are better, down from 17 percent in the third quarter.

The majority of chief executives expect changes in their firms’ selling prices in 2008, with just 9 percent anticipating price increases in excess of 10 percent. On average, firms plan to hike prices by 3.2 percent, slightly lower than 2007’s expectation of 2.2 percent. About 13 percent plan decreases and 4 percent do not plan to change prices.