Small-business Index in U.S. Little Changed from Three-year Low

Confidence among U.S. small businesses was little changed in December from an almost three-year low as owners waited for a decision on fiscal policy, a survey found.

The National Federation of Independent Business’s optimism index improved 0.5 points to 88 from 87.5 in November, the lowest reading since March 2010. Six of the measure’s 10 components rose and one was unchanged, the Washington-based group said.

Lingering negotiations among lawmakers about how to avert automatic tax increases and spending cuts that would have taken effect Jan. 1 probably weighed on small-business owners through year-end.

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