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Snapshot: Optimism at small businesses lifts stocks

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Stocks marched back into record territory as investors seized on the latest encouraging economic new: Small-business owners were a bit more optimistic in April, a National Federation of Independent Business survey says. That helped push the Russell 2000 up 1.3%; so far this year, the index is up 16.1%. Small stocks are doing well in part because they are more focused on the US and don’t depend on recession-plagued Europe. Another closely watched indicator has also been on a tear: transportation stocks. The Dow Transport average is up 21.8% this year. The Dow has risen 16.1% this year, while the S&P 500 has gained 15.7%.

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