Finance chiefs from large North American companies are sticking with their strong outlook for the North American economy, but have less confidence in the prospects for their own companies, according to Deloitte's second-quarter CFO survey. The survey, which measures the views of more than 100 CFOs, found net optimism at its lowest level in two years, down to 18.8% vs. 34.4% last quarter. The number of CFOs that reported rising optimism about their own company fell sharply to 38% from 48% last quarter. A full 65% of those surveyed believe U.S. stock markets are overvalued, up from just 46% last quarter. The survey found expectations for key performance metrics had fallen sharply from last quarter, with revenue growth expectations down to 3.1% from 5.4% last quarter, their lowest level in the survey's five-year history. The energy and resources sector was the key driver of lowered expectations, but all industries saw a decline. Earnings expectations are also at their lowest-ever level, sliding to 6.5% from 10.6% last quarter. "The prospect of a pullback in the U.S. economy, possible interest rate increases and high equity valuations are among the most worrisome risks for CFOs this quarter," said Deloitte national managing partner Sanfor Cockrell III in a statement.
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