As seen in page 2 of the report, there were 132 survey respondents. As stated: “Each quarter (since 2Q10), CFO Signals has tracked the thinking and actions of CFOs representing many of North America’s largest and most influential companies.
All respondents are CFOs from the US, Canada, and Mexico, and the vast majority are from companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue. For a summary of this quarter’s response demographics, please see the sidebars and charts on this page. For other information about participation and methodology, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org."
Here are some of the excerpts that I found notable:
from page 3:
PerceptionsHow do you regard the current/future status of the North American, Chinese, and European economies? Perceptions of North America declined slightly, with 65% of CFOs rating current conditions as good (near the four-year high) and 58% expecting better conditions in a year. Perceptions of Europe improved to 17% and 30%, while China rose strongly to 28% and 32%. Page 6.
What is your perception of the capital markets? Eighty-five percent of CFOs say debt financing is attractive (up from 81% last quarter), while attractiveness of equity financing held steady for public company CFOs (at 42%) and rose for private company CFOs (from 38% to 46%). Seventy-eight percent of CFOs now say US equities are overvalued—just below last quarter’s survey high. Page 7.
ExpectationsWhat is your company’s business focus for the next year? CFOs indicate a strong bias toward revenue growth over cost reduction (63% vs. 18%), and investing cash over returning it (62% vs. 16%). They shifted back to a bias toward existing offerings over new ones (46% vs. 32%), and again increased their bias toward current geographies over new ones (72% vs. 14%). Page 10.
Compared to the past 12 months, how do you expect your key operating metrics to change over the next 12 months? Revenue growth expectations rose from 4.3% to 5.6% and are above their two-year average. Earnings growth rose to 8.7%, up from 7.3% and well above the two-year average. Capital spending growth, which skyrocketed last quarter, slipped from 10.5% to a still high 9.0%. Domestic hiring growth held steady at 2.1%. Page 11.
from page 9:
SentimentComing off a survey high last quarter, own-company optimism remains strong on very high optimism in the US and Mexico; Manufacturing and Services are high, and Energy/Resources rebounded.
This quarter’s net optimism declined from last quarter’s survey-high +50 to a still-high +44. Nearly 55% of CFOs expressed rising optimism (down from 60%), and 11% cited declining optimism (up from 10%).
Net optimism for the US declined from last quarter’s +58 to +47 this quarter. Canada fell from +40 to +20, while optimism in Mexico bounced back very strongly from -71 to +50.
Manufacturing and Services are again above +50, while Energy/Resources rose significantly to +47. Technology and Financial Services declined significantly, but both are still strong by historical standards. T/M/E is negative, but the sample size is very low this quarter.
Please see the full-detail report for charts specific to individual industries and countries.
from page 11:
ExpectationsKey growth metrics remain relatively strong, bolstered by Canada and Mexico; the outlook for Energy/Resources and Healthcare/Pharma improved significantly.
Revenue growth expectations rose from 4.3% to 5.6% and are above their two-year average. US expectations continued to rise. Canada rose to a five-year high and Mexico bounced back from a two-year low. Energy/Resources rose to its survey high, and Healthcare/Pharma bounced back from last quarter’s survey low.
Earnings growth expectations are up to 8.7% from last quarter’s 7.3% and hit a twoyear high. All geographies improved significantly. Manufacturing is at its highest level in two years; Healthcare/Pharma bounced back strongly from last quarter’s three-year low.
Capital investment growth expectations fell to 9.0% from 10.5%, but still sit at their secondhighest level in five years. Canada and Mexico nearly doubled, but US expectations fell. Energy/Resources is again near its survey high. Healthcare/Pharma and Services are both up sharply; Technology declined significantly.
Domestic hiring growth held steady at 2.1%. Canada bounced back from last quarter, and the US declined slightly. Healthcare/Pharma is highest of the industries, with Manufacturing the lowest (despite sitting near its two-year high).
Among the various charts and graphics in the report are graphics depicting trends in “Own Company Optimism” on page 9 and “Economic Optimism” found on page 6.
I post various business and economic surveys because I believe they should be carefully monitored. However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with many of the consensus estimates and much of the commentary in these surveys.
The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation
SPX at 2435.61 as this post is written