CEOs upbeat about Trump's plans for taxes and spending

15 March 2017

Chief executives of US companies were warming up to president Trump and his fellow Republicans, according to survey results released Tuesday by the Business Roundtable.

The economic expectations of the heads of the nation's largest companies surged in the first quarter by the most in over seven years as sentiment improved over about corporate tax cuts, reduced regulations and a boost in infrastructure spending promised by Trump and congressional leaders, the trade group found.

''I think it validated what I've already felt and have already seen that there's more optimism around the future of the economy than we've had in quite some time,'' said Michael Burke, chief executive of Los Angeles engineering giant Aecom, The Los Angeles Times reported.

''I think validating that optimism among a CEO group that is responsible for a big part of the investments that are going to be part of the US economy is encouraging,'' said Burke, a member of the Business Roundtable.

The organisation, which includes heads of around 200 of the largest US companies, said its quarterly CEO Economic Outlook Index surged to 93.3 from 74.2 in the fourth quarter of last year.

The rise was the biggest since the third quarter of 2009 and the highest level in nearly three years.

''CEOs are increasingly positive about the direction of US economy,'' Joshua Bolten, the head of Business Roundtable, told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. ''I think it's fair to say that CEOs see the business environment as improving with the President's focus on jobs and growth.''

Forty-one per cent of CEOs planned to increase hiring in the next six months, up from 35 per cent in the fourth quarter, according to a Business Roundtable survey, while 18 per cent expected to reduce employment, as against 30 per cent late last year.

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