U.S. companies may be reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings, but senior executives remain cautious about the economy. The following is a selection of comments by senior executives on the economic outlook.
"We see the economy bouncing along the bottom in 2010, resulting in a transition year for our industry. We don't expect strong industry growth until we experience consistent improvements in the labor and housing markets, which likely will not occur until 2011"
LOUIS GRIES, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, JAMES HARDIE INDUSTRIES
"The recovery in the U.S. residential housing market remains disappointing and fragile....Factors such as lower mortgage application rates and construction volume and weak builder sentiment reinforce the continuing weakness in the U.S. housing market."
"Conditions in the U.S. housing market are expected to remain at or close to the bottom it has found during recent months."
TAKAHIKO IJICHI, SENIOR MANAGING DIRECTOR, TOYOTA MOTOR
"A downturn in the U.S. car market in May and June prompted us to make the conservative forecast upgrade as released today. However, we were impressed by the unexpected strength of the market in July, with annualized (industry-wide) sales of 12 million units, and this led us to believe the downside would be limited.
"We are hopeful for the rest of the year but our projection for the market remains unchanged at 11.5 million units for the full year."
DON JOHNSON, VP US SALES OPERATIONS, GM GM.UL
"There's been a lot of talk about a double dip recession but from our standpoint, we actually see a low risk of that unless there's some sort of a shock to the system such as a spike in oil prices but overall we do see low risk of that double dip."
" ... with employment rising slower than any post-recession since World War II, we do think consumers will continue to be cautious with all other spending."
"Some of the data since our last call have been more mixed, but the underlying trend of a modest economic recovery remains in place."
"Conflicting signals make it difficult to determine if we have moved to a period of real economic recovery."
"We watch the funds flow, and there's still a decent amount of money on the sidelines and not in equities, in both the U.S. and Europe. Tax policies and job creation all have an impact on whether people feel comfortable making a longer term investment, and putting money into equities."
"Consumers, particularly working class consumers, remain underemployed and overleveraged."
"There is a recovery under way. It is going to be choppy, and it won't be a straight line, but I think it is going to be a choppy recovery and it is going to take some time."
"Even though things are better than they were, say, a year ago, we still have a long way to go. Positive signs are emerging in terms of corporate profits and household incomes."
"I continue to be optimistic, but we are still in the early stages of an economic recovery and it's still somewhat fragile."
"We're in a very slow-growth economy, and people are not borrowing money to expand or grow either individually or corporately."
"We expect going forward in the remainder of this year and into 2011, steady improvement (in business). But, it will be slower improvement. We're not anticipating any kind of V-shaped recovery." Lindner noted that unemployment remained "stubbornly high" but industrial production was improving.
"Now that corporations have some breathing room in the economy and their budgets, you're starting to see those machines that were four or five years-old get refreshed."
"There will be bumps along the way. The consumer, in terms of his or her sentiment, is still not out of the tunnel.
"But we do see rays of hope -- more mobility in the United States, more people going out, entertainment metrics are better." INDRA NOOYI, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, PEPSICO INC (PEP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)
"The economic environment is not showing consistent improvement across all measures."
"A long, slow recovery in demand that we expected is unfortunately the reality our country faces today and there are also legitimate concerns about the possibility of a double-dip recession or, at minimum, a significant slowing of growth."
"You see robust consumption growth in places like China, Brazil, India, modest increases in North America and Europe.
"There's a lot of very positive indications there of a real recovery in almost all of these markets. But I believe that the biggest risk is still the volatility that could potentially come from financial markets."
"GE's economic environment continues to improve." But he said "the economy is going to strengthen at different paces around the world.
SCOTT DAVIS, CEO, UNITED PARCEL SERVICE INC (UPS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) "Clearly, this is a business-led recovery. You'll see industrial production grow faster than GDP. That's driven by the manufacturing side."
"We are certainly encouraged by our orders and backlog, but economic turns can be choppy, so we believe the best approach is to be conservative."
"We expect challenging U.S. and European nonresidential construction markets to continue to dampen results" for the rest of the year."