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American CFOs optimistic on economic prospects

CFOs in the USare bullish over economic prospects and their own companies' financial prospects. This, despite continuing high oil prices, increases in health care costs and added costs incurred as companies continue to invest in business continuity plans to combat to possible terrorist attacks.

According to the September ?CFO Outlook Survey,? conducted by Financial Executives International and BaruchCollege's Zicklin School of Business, oil prices are affecting earnings at about one out of five companies (19%). The manufacturing industry is the most affected, where 36% report a significant negative impact.

At all companies, an additional 11% of CFOs expect a significant negative earnings impact if the price per barrel of oil reaches $50. In contrast, two-thirds of respondents say earnings are not tied to the price of oil in any significant way.

In a separate line of questioning the survey also queried private companies on their attitudes towards Sarbanes-Oxley. Results suggest private companies are taking the stipulations on board. Almost 60% of surveyed private companies plan to comply with at least some aspects of Sarbanes-Oxley. Sixty per cent of those complying with at least part of the SOx legislation say that ?it's a better way to run a business,?  while over half say ?they anticipate it will apply eventually to private companies,? while 35% comment that ?stakeholders should be treated like public investors.?

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