WASHINGTON (TheStreet) -- Small-business optimism fell to its lowest level in five months, hurt by weak sales and shrinking profit, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business.The NFIB Small-Business Optimism index fell 2.6 points in March to 91.9, ending its five-month upward trend. Still, hiring continued to increase. Weaker expectations for "real sales gains" and business conditions as well as a "marked deterioration" in profit fueled the decline in optimism, the NFIB says.
- Small-business sales declined slightly, with customer activity remaining weak -- a primary concern for owners.
- About 93% of small businesses reported that their credit needs were being met or that they were not interested in borrowing at this time, continuing a trend seen over the past few months, according to the NFIB.
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