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Across the world’s major economies, investors’ optimism about business investment is on the rise as companies become more upbeat about prospects for the years ahead.

The deterioration in US data on the US economy, driven by a marked decline in the stock market since August, has led many analysts to predict a pullback in stock buybacks and capex.

However, in the survey of company executives released on Thursday, 65 per cent of the finance directors in Europe, Asia and North America said they expected business investment to increase in the next year, compared with 65 per cent in a similar survey three months ago. The proportion planning no changes was nine per cent, compared with 10 per cent three months ago.

The survey, compiled by the Boston Consulting Group for, followed some encouraging economic data in recent weeks.

October’s disappointing US non-farm payrolls release prompted fresh questions about the strength of economic growth in the fourth quarter. But figures from the US labour department out this week showed that growth, which was running at a 2.7 per cent annualised rate in the third quarter, accelerated to 2.9 per cent in the fourth.

On Tuesday, the US Commerce Department reported that retail sales were up by a healthy 1.2 per cent in December, beating the expectations of economists and putting the annual pace at an annualised rate of 4.2 per cent in 2018.

Meanwhile, the same day, the Bank of England raised interest rates by 25 basis points, the fourth such increase since the financial crisis.

BDT research fellow Simon Wilde said the recent data and the survey responses gave no reason to fear a decline in corporate investment.

“While the stock market correction has pushed down sentiment on business conditions in the US, we can expect fundamentals to reassert themselves as growth turns around,” he said.