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A measure of small-business optimism improved in March but still didn't surpass January levels, a trade group said Tuesday. The National Federation of Independent Business said its small-business optimism index rose 2 points to 93.4, helped in particular by those who expect real sales to be higher. Six of the ten components of the index rose, two were unchanged and two were lower. The best component, at positive 24%, is "plans to make capital outlays," and the worst component, at negative 24%, is "earnings trends.