Economy GDP ceo survey
Nick Ut/AP
By Bijoy Koyitty

Chief executives were less optimistic about the U.S. economy in the third quarter, with fewer expecting to increase sales or boost capital spending than in the preceding three months, a survey by the Business Roundtable showed.

The group's CEO Economic Outlook Index fell to 79.1 in the third quarter from 84.3 in the second quarter and 81.0 in the first quarter. A reading above 50 indicates economic growth is expected.

Seventy-one percent of CEOs said they expected their sales to grow in the next six months, down from the 78 percent in the June edition of the survey. The survey, published Wednesday, showed that 27 percent plan to increase capital spending in the United States in the next six months, down from 37 percent.

Investors will get a more detailed view of corporate performance next month when top U.S. companies including Alcoa (AA), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and General Electric (GE) report results.

The Roundtable, an association of CEOs of top U.S. companies, surveyed 134 members between Aug. 16 and Sept. 6.

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