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CFO SignalsTM: 2012 Q2 Results

Optimism among large company CFOs tumbles again; Corporate performance expected to slow

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Results: CFO SignalsTM Q2

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Highlights: CFO SignalsTM Q2

Last quarter’s comparative reprieve from terrible news about Europe and the broader global economy yielded a substantial rise in CFO optimism – although this is not saying much given the two quarters of dismal CFO sentiment we saw in last half of 2011. CFOs were still voicing strong concerns, however, about slow growth at home, government stagnation – especially going into an election year in the U.S. – and the potential for renewed global economic volatility.

This quarter’s resurgence of both uncertainty and bad news confirmed their fears. Recent and upcoming national elections in Europe, combined with approaching national elections in the U.S. and Mexico, are further obscuring the direction of government policy. Economic performance measures in most regions have soured, Europe’s (and the euro’s) future has become even less certain, and equity markets have tumbled again. Not surprisingly, CFOs’ optimism gains were mostly erased this quarter – especially in the U.S.

One bright spot up until now has been corporate performance, which has held up quite well despite volatile conditions. But this quarter’s survey puts even that in question. While CFOs’ projections for year-over-year earnings growth continue to outpace their projections for sales growth – implying that efficiency gains and improved business focus can largely make up for slow revenue growth – this quarter’s findings indicate that only one in three CFOs believes their company can sustain this dynamic for more than another year.

2012 Q2 CFO Signals report PDF available for downloading at the top of this page.

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