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CEOs grow more optimistic about US economy improvement: survey

WASHINGTON -- U.S. chief executives are more optimistic about improvement in the American economy, but worry that Washington's fiscal stalemate continues to hold back growth and jobs, a survey showed Wednesday.

The Business Roundtable said its fourth-quarter CEO Economic Outlook Survey showed a “modest uptick” in expectations for the first half of 2014, pushing its outlook index to 84.5 from 79.1 in the third quarter.

A BRT index reading above 50 indicates expectations of economic expansion.

Expectations for sales, capital expenditures and hiring increased for the next six months compared with the prior quarter, said BRT, which represents CEOs of leading U.S. companies.

The survey “reflects slightly increased optimism despite an underperforming economy that continues to grow more slowly than we all would like,” BRT chairman Jim McNerney, chief executive of Boeing, said in a conference call with reporters.

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