DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index for the United States rose 3 points to 63.5 in the fourth quarter, according to YPO’s latest quarterly poll of U.S. CEOs. The index broke out of the narrow range it traced for the past 15 months, reaching its highest level since April 2012.
“Over the past three months, CEOs appear to have turned the corner from cautious to confident,” said Alan Zafran, managing director First Republic Investment Management, and a member of YPO’s Global One Chapter. “Whereas in October they saw an economy stalled by deep divisions in Washington and worried about Fed tightening, they now see an economy gathering speed, fueled by stock market and employment gains and the promise of continued low interest rates.”
Globally, a rising tide of optimism lifted business confidence in all regions except Africa and Australasia, where CEO sentiment edged lower from already-lofty levels. Notably, the European Union surged to a new high at 62.2, and Asia’s index rose for the second consecutive quarter, to 63.6. The global index stands at 63.0.
Key findings in the United States
Smaller companies most optimistic about sales growth: Small companies (fewer than 100 employees) remained the most optimistic about the next 12 months with 74% expecting sales to increase, compared with 65% of medium-size companies and 56% of large companies (more than 500 employees).
Outlook for hiring inches upward: Four in 10 (41%) CEOs surveyed expected to hire new workers in 2014. The majority (55%) planned to keep head counts about the same.
CEOs report stronger business conditions, brighter six-month outlook: Survey respondents overall reported improved business conditions compared with six months earlier. The percentage who said conditions had gotten better increased to 52% in January from 38% in October, while the percentage who said things had gotten worse declined to just 9% from 20% last quarter. The outlook for the next six months also turned rosier, with 58% of CEOs expecting improvement, up from 42% three months earlier.