CEOs upbeat about sales but pessimistic about hiring

Chief executives at the largest U.S. companies are much more optimistic about their sales prospects than they were three months ago, though many remain cautious about hiring.

The Business Roundtable said Wednesday that 72 percent of its members expect sales will increase in the next six months. That’s up from 58 percent at the end of last year. And 38 percent plan to invest more in plant and equipment, up from 30 percent in October-December quarter, when the Roundtable released its last report.

Still, the better outlook hasn’t made the group more optimistic about hiring. Twenty-nine percent of CEOs plan to increase hiring over the next six months, the same percentage as the last two surveys.

The Roundtable surveys CEOs about sales, capital spending and hiring. 

Samsung appears ready to unveil new Galaxy phone

Samsung Electronics is taking to the Big Apple to reveal its next big challenge to Apple Inc.: a successor to its top-selling Galaxy S III smartphone.

The Korean company has rented New York’s Radio City Music Hall for an event Thursday evening, hinting that it will reveal the Galaxy S IV phone. The new phone likely would be available in stores in a month or two.

It’s not known what the new phone will look like or how it will differ from its predecessor, but there’s speculation that Samsung will again increase the screen size.

In the last two years, Samsung has emerged as Apple’s main competitor in the high-end smartphone market. It also has sold enough inexpensive low-end phones to edge out Nokia Corp. as the world’s largest maker of phones. 

Unemployed job seekers gain clout in New York City

New York City lawmakers have passed the nation’s most far-reaching measure to protect out-of-work job applicants from discrimination.

City Council members Wednesday overrode a mayoral veto of a measure that bans discrimination against job applicants because they’re unemployed. The city law takes effect in three months.

While measures elsewhere in the country ban ads that say job applicants must be employed, the New York City law lets rejected applicants to take employers to court and get damages.

Businesses and Mayor Michael Bloomberg predict the measure will lead to baseless lawsuits and lawmakers shouldn’t try to dictate how hiring choices get made. 

McDonald’s egg sandwiches to be available with no yolk

McDonald’s is rolling out a yolk-free version of its Egg McMuffin this spring.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain says the “Egg White Delight” will be made with a whole grain muffin, Canadian bacon and white cheddar cheese. It will be available nationally April 22 and clock in at 250 calories, compared with 300 calories for a regular Egg McMuffin.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain says the egg whites will be cooked on the grill and available for other breakfast sandwiches as well.

When asked about extra charges for egg whites, McDonald’s spokeswoman Ofelia Casillas said in an email that the company doesn’t stipulate pricing to franchisees.