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U.S., Global Business Confidence Slumps



U.S., global business confidence slumps

Published: Nov 23, 2014 7:02 p.m. ET

By

SteveGoldstein

D.C. bureau chief

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - U.S. and global business confidence slumped in the third quarter, according to a survey of business executives released Sunday.

Markit said its U.S. business outlook survey showed that a net 31.2% of executives saw growing activity for the next 12 months in October, down from a net 51.4% when they were surveyed in June.

That’s the lowest reading since the survey started in 2009.

A global survey conducted by Markit saw a net 28% expecting higher activity, down from 39% in June, to mark a five-year low.

Optimism in the eurozone was the weakest since June 2013, and Russian confidence fell to a survey low.

In the U.S., hiring intentions fell to a new survey low, as did investment intentions.

“Clouds are gathering over the global economic outlook, presenting the darkest picture since the global financial crisis,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist of Markit. He said U.S. growth may have peaked over the summer months, which is at odds with what some other surveys have suggested.

Last week, a survey of Philadelphia-area manufacturers rose to the best level in about 20 years, and a leading economic index suggested continued growth at least through early 2015.

Markit, which surveyed 6,100 companies, said concerns included a renewed downturn in the eurozone, rising interest rates in the U.S. and the U.K., geopolitical risk from Ukraine and the Middle East and growing political uncertainty in the U.S., Japan and other countries.

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