A Continued Surge In Small Business And Consumer Optimism

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by: David I. Templeton, CFA
Sentiment for both consumers and small businesses continues to soar. Tuesday the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index was reported at 107.5. I highlighted the surge in consumer sentiment at the end of November.



NFIB notes in its report,

Not since the roaring Reagan economy has small business optimism been as high as it was in November, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Index of Small Business Optimism, released today."
“We haven’t seen this kind of optimism in 34 years, and we’ve seen it only once in the 44 years that NFIB has been conducting this research,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “Small business owners are exuberant about the economy, and they are ready to lead the U.S. economy in a period of robust growth.”
The report also indicates the current reading for November is the second highest reading in the 44-year history of the Index. Some highlights in the report:
  • Job Creation plans increased six points last month, providing more evidence of a strong labor market.
  • The number of owners who said it’s a Good Time to Expand rose four points.
  • Inventory Plans increased by three points.
  • Inventory Satisfaction increased by three points and,
  • Actual Earnings Trend moved up two points.
The significant improvement in sentiment, especially in business sentiment, has been a common theme for the last year. NFIB's report on December 2016 small business optimism saw one of the Index's largest increases. Below is a chart tracking the market's performance since NFIB's last five highest readings from December of last year. This year's market return has been the strongest.
Sentiment is an important part of investing psychology. With both consumers and small businesses expressing high levels of optimism, it is not surprising equity returns have been as strong as they have been this year.