Daily News: January 9, 2012

Survey: CFOs Enter 2012 With ‘Cautious Optimism’


In its latest monthly report, the Tatum survey of CFOs notes that business conditions have continued the upward turn seen last month, with the past 30 days showing improving results and the 60-day outlook more flattish to slightly positive. The survey was taken among executives at mostly small to mid-sized companies across the U.S.

“Cautious optimism is a definite improvement over the negative outlook that we have been seeing in the recent past,” the report said. But the most recent study also notes “continued uncertainties as we begin 2012: the issues surrounding the Euro, the unclear outlook for the U.S. economy and capital markets and the 2012 presidential election coming in the fall.”

Commenting on capital expenditure commitments, the report said the percentage of respondents committing more on capital equipment increased significantly to 30% from 21% over the past 30 days. The percentage that committed less on capital equipment decreased to 20% from 26%. The percentage of respondents who said they plan to commit more for capital assets in the next 60 days increased from 34% from 28%. However, the percentage that expect to commit less increased to 18% from 15%.

Tatum’s overall index of business conditions continues trending upward in the January report after the December swing, rising to 3.5 from 3.0 – and up from a 1.8 score two months ago. In its scoring, a range of 2.0 to 3.0 correlates with zero economic growth. Thus, the latest results “are now solidly predicting that the economy will NOT be recessionary in the near term,” the Tatum report says, noting that its index was below 2.0 throughout the 2008-2009 recession.

To read the PDF of the Tatum Survey of CFOs, click here.