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Optimism Meets Uncertainty
It’s all about anxiety today, from Apple and its suppliers, to small businesses, which remain optimistic even as some of the rose is coming off the bloom.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Index remains near record levels, but easing, as six components edged lower, two were unchanged and two improved. The biggest decline was in sales expectations with a read of 18, down from 31 in December; and while still positive, it’s tumbling fast.
Most worrisome is the read on uncertainty:
“The Uncertainty Index hit 93 in March, which is the second highest reading in the survey’s history,” NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said. “More small business owners are having a difficult time anticipating the factors that affect their businesses, especially government policy.”
NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg
This anxiety is not lost on the White House, which hosted its second gathering of CEOs from the nation’s biggest and fastest growing companies to cover a range of issues. The main focus was infrastructure and how to pay for it, but listening to several of the CEOs exiting the meeting, the general epiphany is an Obamacare replacement must get done for a platform of savings to apply to other parts of the agenda.
It’s a tangled web, and the clock is ticking. The market has come off the lows of the session, but its clear investors are seeking answers to justify their optimism. The market shouldn’t sell off as deals are being cobbled together, but by the same token, it holds the market back. And we know, anxiety begets anxiety.
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