U.S. November small business confidence dives to 2-1/2-year low

WASHINGTON Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:31am EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. small business sentiment tumbled to its lowest level in more than 2-1/2 years in November as owners grew very pessimistic about business conditions over the next six months.

The National Federation of Independent Business said on Tuesday its optimism index plummeted 5.6 points to 87.5 last month, the weakest reading since March 2010.

The NFIB blamed the November 6 election in which President Barack Obama won a second term, for the sharp erosion in confidence, with Superstorm Sandy, which battered the East Coast in late October, playing a limited role.

"The only other significant event was the resolution of the election, an event that had created much uncertainty among business owners as to the future direction of economic policy and the economy," the NFIB said.

It gave no further details. Last month, the share of small business owners anticipating better business conditions in the next six months fell 37 points.

There were also declines, though not as steep, in the shares of owners expecting higher sales and earnings, as well as planning to invest in capital.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Neil Stempleman)

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