Capital investment up, overall outlook “muted”: report

Dun and Bradstreet’s Business Expectations Survey has reflected a “generally muted” outlook for the year, though a continuing trend of increased capital investment.

The survey – compiling the responses of 1,200 executives in October, November and December – found lower expectations for sales, profits, employment and selling prices for the year’s first quarter.

Capital investment was up in the December quarter, continuing increases in the category in the June and September quarterly results.

The firm’s Adam Siddique said the capital investment results could signify a shift in investment sentiment.

“We are finally seeing some positive movement in the Capital Investment space, which is encouraging and something we will track for further signs of improvement in the short-term. As flagged in last month’s survey, sustained business investment across all sectors is a key driver of future economic growth,” he said in a statement.

Overall, the outlook was subdued.

"The end point is the economy is doing okay, it's not in a recession and it's a long way away from a recession, but nor are we seeing the business sector saying they're poised for a really strong year in 2016," Stephen Koukoulas, an adviser to the credit analysts told the ABC.

Today will also see the release of the ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence survey.