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Small business index slips in December

Small business index slips in December (by Steve Goldstein)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The NFIB's index of small business optimism fell 0.6 points to 92.6 in December, marking the 36th month of recessionary levels, the trade group said. Though subindexes for capital spending and hiring rose, indexes for expecting the economy to improve, expected credit conditions and earnings trends were among those falling. "The top problem remains weak sales, spread over too many firms. With weak sales prospects, hiring or spending on capital projects have little likelihood of paying off and therefore willnot happen," the NFIB said.