Chief executive officers' opinions of the economic outlook are virtually unchanged from the third quarter, according to the fourth quarter Business Roundtable CEO survey, released Wednesday.

The survey showed a small decline in expected sales and capital spending, while hiring plans ticked up. The third quarter predictions were more pessimistic than the second quarter expectations.

"CEOs anticipate continued slow overall economic growth for the next six months and haves lightly lower expectations for sales and capital expenditures," said Jim McNerney, chairman of Business Roundtable. "The continued softness in quarterly sentiment reflects deep uncertainty about the future overall economic climate, realities of a slow-growing economy and frustration over Washington's inability to resolve looming 'fiscal cliff' issues."

Regulatory costs were of great concern to the CEOs, with 35% of the respondents reporting such worries.