Duke University/CFO Magazine
Business Outlook Survey
February 2005

All information will be used only in aggregate form. No individual data are recorded or made public. Please respond by midnight Eastern, Sunday, February 27. If you have any questions about this survey, please contact us.

 

1. Are you more or less optimistic about the U.S. economy compared to last quarter?
More optimistic        Less optimistic        No change

2. Are you more or less optimistic about the financial prospects for your company compared to last quarter?
More optimistic        Less optimistic        No change

3. On February 18, 2005 the annual yield on 10-yr treasury bonds was 4.3%. Please complete the following:

a. Over the next 10 years, I expect the average annual S&P 500 return will be:


Worst Case: There is a 1-in-10
chance the actual average
return will be less than:

             %
Best Guess:
I expect the
return to be:

%
Best Case: There is a 1-in-10
chance the actual average
return will be greater than:

          %

b. During the next year, I expect the S&P 500 return will be:

Worst Case: There is a 1-in-10
chance the actual return will
be less than:

             %
Best Guess:
I expect the
return to be:

%
Best Case: There is a 1-in-10
chance the actual return will
be greater than:

          %

4. Relative to the previous 12 months, what will be your company's PERCENTAGE CHANGE during the next 12 months? (e.g., +3%, -2%, etc.)  [Leave blank if not applicable]
%  Prices of your products
%  Productivity (output per hour worked)
%  Advertising/Marketing spending
%  Technology spending
%  Number of domestic employees
%  Number of foreign/off-shore
                       outsourced employees
%  Wages/Salaries
%  Dividends
%  M&A activity
%  Capital spending
%  Earnings
%  Revenues
%   Health care costs

5. What are the top four concerns your corporation faces in 2005? (rank #1, #2, #3, #4) 
   World economic stability
   Availability/cost of capital
   High fuel prices
   High non-fuel commodity prices
   Political risk
   Reduced pricing power
   Inflation
   Increased interest rates
   Increased regulation
   Salaries and wages
   Health care costs
   Distribution problems
   Competition
   U.S. budget deficit
   U.S. trade deficit
   U.S. dollar weakness
   Other   

6a. On a scale of 0 to 100, how do you rank the negative impact that the threat of terrorism is having on your business? (0 means no impact, 100 means maximum negative impact from threat of terrorism.)
 0-100
6b. What number on this scale would indicate that the threat of terrorism is affecting your bottom line? (If your answer in 6a is greater than this number, it means that the threat of terrorism is affecting your bottom line.)
 0-100

7. Are unit labor costs (i.e., labor cost of producing one unit) increasing at your company?
  No
  Yes, a little
  Yes, a moderate amount
  Yes, a lot

IF YES, How big of a problem is this increase in unit labor costs for your firm's bottom line?

  Not really a problem
  Small problem
  Moderate problem
  Big problem

8a. Will the weaker U.S. dollar help or hurt your firm?
  Hurt Not Much Effect Help
Translation of foreign revenues
Competitive position domestically
Competitive position abroad
Material costs
Exports
Other    

8b. Overall, how much will the weaker U.S. dollar help or hurt your firm?
  Hurt a lot
  Hurt moderately
  Hurt a little
  No effect
  Help a little
  Help moderately
  Help a lot

8c. Has your firm taken any actions to offset the changing value of the U.S. dollar? (choose all that apply)
  Increased hedging position
  Changed location of investments
  Changed location of production
  Outsourced work
  Other    

9. How important do you think it is for the U.S. Congress to take action on the following items during 2005?
 
  Not Important Somewhat
Important
Very Important
Social security reform
Tax code reform
The cost of healthcare
Budget deficit

10. The Federal Funds rate is currently 2.5%. What do you consider to be the "neutral" level of interest rates? (Neutral interest rates strike a balance between inflation and economic growth).
  

Please check one from each category that best describes your company:

     a. Industry

       Retail/Wholesale
       Mining/Construction
       Manufacturing
       Transportation/Energy
       Communications/Media
      Tech [Software/Biotech]
      Banking/Finance/Insurance
      Service/Consulting
      Healthcare/Pharmaceutical
      Other  
  b. Sales Revenue  c. Number of Employees
       Less than $25 million
       $25-$99 million
       $100-$499 million
       $500-$999 million
       $1-$4.9 billion
       $5-$9.9 billion
       More than $10 billion
      Fewer than 100
      100-499
      500-999
      1,000-2,499
      2,500-4,999
      5,000-9,999
      More than 10,000
  d. Headquarters   e. Ownership
       Northeast U.S.
       Mountain U.S.
       Midwest U.S.
       South Central U.S.
       South Atlantic U.S.
       Pacific U.S.
       Central/South America
       Europe
       Asia
      Public, NYSE
      Public, NASDAQ/AMEX
      Private
      Government
      Nonprofit
  f. Foreign Sales g. Your job title (e.g., CFO, Asst. Treasurer, etc):
       0%
       1-24%
       25-50%
       More than 50%
       

Duke University, 2005