A new Smith Barney survey showed mixed expectations about capital spending for this year and the next.

The brokerage surveyed about 670 companies about their capex plans for 2003 and 2004, and described the capital spending environment as "muted." Combined capital spending projections for 2003 are down 6.6%, but excluding utilities and telecom-services sectors, 2003 expectations are up 3.5%, Smith Barney said. Smith Barney said technology-industry spending may fall more than 10% in 2003 but will rise about 5% next year. It described 2004 spending as "up slightly."

Within the airline industry, the brokerage said spending may jump 50% from 2002's levels, and may possibly go higher in 2004. Cable companies will most likely trim spending in 2003 and 2004 by more than 20% each year, Smith Barney said. The chemical industry looks set to cut spending by about 50% in 2003, according to the report.

Smith Barney also pointed out that the lodging industry is opposed to new spending.