In a survey of 100 chief executive officers at U.S. corporations, the CEO confidence index -- which indicates, on balance, a positive reading with figures above 50 -- slipped from 62 in the second quarter of the year to 54 in the July through August period.
"CEO confidence declined in the third quarter as increasing uncertainty about the short-term outlook prevailed," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.
Franco said the index reflects uncertainty U.S. executives have about foreign markets.
"Expectations for growth in both India and Brazil deteriorated significantly, while the outlook for the United States, Japan and China, despite being less upbeat, on balance remained positive," Franco said.
The survey found only 33 percent of respondents indicated they believed economic conditions had improved over the past six months, compared with 60 percent in the second quarter, the Conference Board said in a Tuesday release.
Fewer CEOs were confident about their own industry, as well. The percentage of CEOs indicating a belief that conditions in their industry had improved fell from 40 percent to 32 percent, quarter to quarter.
CEOs indicating the next six months would include improved business conditions fell from 53 percent to 34 percent in the most recent survey, which was conducted in mid-August to mid-September.
The CEO confidence measure is compiled with support from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
No margins of error were listed in the release.