Enthusiasm over economy levels out

U.S. finance executives are still mostly optimistic, survey shows.

Optimists still outnumber pessimists by a wide margin, but overall sentiment among U.S. finance executives in business and industry is flat compared with this time a year ago.

The second-quarter AICPA Business & Industry Economic Outlook Survey shows less enthusiasm for the economy than in the previous two quarters but still an overall optimistic tone.

Six of the nine equally weighted indicators in the CPA Outlook Index (CPAOI) fell on a quarterly basis, producing an overall CPAOI of 72, the same measure as a year ago but a six-point drop from the fourth quarter of 2014. A reading above 50 indicates a generally positive outlook.

It's the first time the CPAOI has fallen in consecutive quarters since the fourth quarter of 2012, when the index was 59. That was followed by eight consecutive quarters of the index's rising or staying the same, to the post-recession high of 78 in the fourth quarter of last year.

Since the second quarter of last year, three key CPAOI measures have dropped: organization optimism, expansion plans, and revenue.

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