Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Small Business Owners More Upbeat (excerpt)

April’s survey of small business owners by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) provides additional evidence of an improvement in revenues. The percentage of respondents saying that sales are poor (on a six-month-average basis) dropped to 15%, the lowest since May 2008 and down sharply from the record high of 33% during March 2010.

Interestingly, the poor-sales series happens to be highly correlated with the unemployment rate. Of course, as small business owners turn more optimistic about their sales prospects, they tend to increase their hiring. Sure enough, on a 12-month-average basis, the percent of firms with one or more job openings rose to 21% in April, the highest since June 2008. The percent expecting to increase employment rose to 8%, the highest since August 2008.

Today's Morning Briefing: Above the Rest. (1) Earnings and revenues are looking up. (2) Q1 wasn’t so chilly for earnings and revenues. (3) Four big S&P 500 sectors with record forward earnings. (4) Fewer small business owners say that sales are poor. (5) More job openings. (6) Revenues stuck in the mud for the rest of the world. (7) US stands out. (8) EMU MSCI at six-year high despite drab earnings. (9) Bundesbank ready to support more of whatever it takes from ECB. (More for subscribers.)

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