WASHINGTON — Optimism among chief executives at the largest U.S. companies fell in the July-September quarter after reaching a two-year high in the previous quarter.
The Business Roundtable says that its CEO outlook index fell to 86.4 in the third quarter, down from 95.4 in the April-June period.
Fewer CEOs expect to hire in the next six months: Just 34 percent plan to add jobs, down from 43 percent. And only 39 percent plan to boost their capital spending, down from 44 percent.
Nearly three-quarters of the chief executives expect higher sales, the same as in the second quarter.
Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T and chairman of the Roundtable, blamed the decline of the index on Congress’ failure to extend temporary tax breaks that encourage research and development and investment spending.