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US CEOs More Optimistic on Hiring, Sales This Year

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Optimism among chief executives of large U.S. companies has reached a two-year high, driven by greater optimism about hiring and sales.

The Business Roundtable says that its CEO outlook index rose to 95.4 in the second quarter, up from 92.1 in the first quarter.

The gain was spurred by a better outlook on hiring: 43 percent of the CEOs expect to add jobs in the coming six months, up from just 37 percent in the first quarter.

Still, the outlook was not all rosy: the percentage of CEOs planning to invest more in their businesses fell to 44 percent from 48 percent.

Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T and chairman of the Roundtable, blamed the drop on the expiration of several investment tax breaks at the beginning of the year.

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