In a sign the economy has a long way to go, U.S. small business owners’ confidence hit its lowest point in 29 quarters, according to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, conducted in July.

The index, which polled more than 604 owners by telephone nationally, revealed that fears about credit availability have stabilized, but U.S. small business owners have lower expectations for their businesses, with fewer expecting revenues, cash flow, capital spending and hiring to increase over the next 12 months. These lowered expectations contributed to a 17-point decline from April falling to -28 in July, the lowest score since the survey's inception. The index is calculated based on a company’s present situation and future expectations.

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