Trust in U.S. biz rises; falls for Europe

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[new york] Trust in U.S. business is rising while the reputation of European companies continues to decline, according to a telephone survey of 400 U.S. and 450 European opinion leaders conducted in December and January by independent public relations firm Edelman. The survey, released at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week, found that despite high-profile business scandals, 48% of respondents expressed faith in U.S. companies, up from 41% in mid-June 2002, while Europeans' trust in business declined from 43% to 35% over the same period.

Steve Lombardo, CEO of Edelman research company StrategyOne said, "The issue in the U.S. has been more about people than the institution of business."

Energy, telecommunications and professional services were among the least trusted U.S. sectors, while package goods, durables and technology scored highest. In Europe, the least trusted industry was financial services, while health care, airlines and durables scored best. In addition, only 9% of European respondents said they believed in the credibility of information conveyed in advertising, compared to 12% of Americans.

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