Exec confidence on the rise

New York — U.S. business leaders are growing notably more bullish about the near-term outlook for the economy, and The Conference Board's Measure of Business Confidence jumped up seven points during the second quarter, following a 14-point jump in the first quarter.

The index now stands at 52, up from 45 in the first three months of the year, with a reading of more than 50 reflecting more positive than negative responses.

"While chief executives' short-term outlook has improved, their assessment of current conditions suggests we are still mired in a period of slow growth," said Lynn Franco, director of the business think tank's Consumer Research Center.

Forty-five percent of the ceos said they expected an improvement over the next six months, up from 35 percent. Those expecting conditions to worsen declined to less than 15 percent, down from more than 34 percent in the first quarter.

Pulling in their horns a bit, ceos said they are not as positive about the profit picture as they were a year ago. Only 60 percent expect gains, down from 71 percent a year ago.

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