Analysis

CFO Signals™: 2017 Q4

Global economic growth underpins optimism entering 2018

​This quarter's survey explores CFOs' perspectives regarding major economies, government policy, megatrends and disruptors, and their own companies' plans.

CFO sentiment and expectations of the economy in Q4

Following the 2016 US presidential election, CFOs started off 2017 on a very positive note—with the first quarter survey registering the sharpest sentiment uptick in its seven-year history. The positive outlook continued in the second and third quarters, even as CFOs voiced steadily growing concerns about geopolitical conflict, US political turmoil, and Washington’s struggles to deliver in key policy areas.

Underpinning CFOs’ sentiment have been their positive assessments of the North American economy and improving perceptions of Europe and China. But confidence in the trajectory of the North American economy slid last quarter, with CFOs voicing still stronger concerns about Washington and geopolitics. The effects were strongest in the US, where CFOs led a broader decline in own-company optimism and also in expectations for earnings and investment.

Turmoil continued on several fronts this quarter. But global economic growth remained on a positive trajectory and equity markets hit new highs, and CFOs’ optimism about their own companies’ prospects rebounded to the third-highest level in the survey’s history. Earnings expectations rose further above their two-year average. And although lower than last quarter, expectations for revenue, capital investment, and domestic hiring all remained above their two-year averages.

So what is driving CFOs’ optimism as they look toward 2018? To answer this question, this quarter’s survey explores CFOs’ perspectives regarding major economies, government policy, megatrends and disruptors, and their own companies’ plans.

Download the report to read the details or executive summary to view the highlights.

2017 Q4 North American CFO Signals™ highlights

Business outlook highlights

About Deloitte LLP's CFO Signals™ survey

CFO Signals™ is about CFO issues. This quarterly survey tracks the thinking and actions of leading CFOs—representing North America’s largest and most influential companies—across four predominant areas: business environment, company priorities and expectations, finance priorities, personal priorities.

Learn more about Deloitte's CFO Signals™ survey.

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