After rising in the first quarter, The Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence retreated sharply in the second quarter to 55, down 12 points from 67. While still above 50, which reflects a more positive than negative outlook, the reading seems to indicate chief executive officers are bracing for slower growth.

“CEO confidence cooled considerably in the second quarter, a reflection of a sluggish U.S. economy,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Looking ahead, expectations are that this slow pace of economic growth will continue. Regarding the outlook for profits over the next 12 months, the news was a bit more favorable, with about 70% of CEOs anticipating profit increases.”

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