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Mid-sized firms lead better outlook

Wed June 27, 2012 2:01am

Retailers not too small to be vulnerable but not so big that they're cumbersome have helped drive a better outlook for mid-sized businesses.

A HALF yearly report on mid-market businesses with annual revenues from $10 million to $250 million found an index of business growth had bottomed out in the first three months of 2012 after declining over the second half of 2011.

The index, based on a survey of over 5,000 chief financial officers (CFOs), shows whether businesses are focused on barriers to growth and worrying about a possible contraction in activity, or instead experiencing growth and expecting it to continue.

The index is low but still in positive territory and has stopped falling.

The survey was compiled by financier GE Capital.

And another indicator from the survey, based on survey results relating more to expectations than current activity, has edged higher.

"While the overall index has remained steady since its low in January, the future expectations index has lifted significantly in February and March of this year, which points to a growing optimism among CFOs - and a renewed focus on growth opportunities," GE Capital said in its report on the survey.

It's only in the mid-market sector of the economy that the measure of optimism has brightened.

And, a bit surprisingly given all the bad news from the sector recently, retailing is one of the more upbeat sectors and is playing a big part in the improving trend.

"Retail trade in the mid-market has not been affected by the general downturn in sentiment, experienced by retail trade in the other sectors, and remains positive with rising expectations of growth," GE Capital said in the survey report.

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