U.K.’s Small to Mid-Cap Confidence Seen at Highest Since 2011

Confidence among small and medium-sized U.K. companies reached its highest level in more than two years amid improving sales prospects, according to business adviser BDO LLP.

The quarterly Small & Mid Cap Sentiment Index climbed to 73.6 in January from 70.4 in October, BDO and London-based lobby group Quoted Companies Alliance said in a statement today. That was the strongest reading since September 2011.

“For the first time since the QCA/BDO Index began, confidence among both businesses and their advisers has reached a tipping point,” the companies said in the statement. “The number feeling optimistic about their near-term prospects has become greater than the number remaining neutral or negative -- pointing to a new deep-rooted positive sentiment.”

The Bank of England raised its economic projections this month and forecast that growth in household spending will accelerate to more than 3 percent this year from 2.25 percent in 2013. Most of the firms surveyed expect to increase revenue in the next 12 months with average growth of 14 percent anticipated and a 6.6 percent rise in the number of employees, BDO and the Quoted Companies Alliance said.

Fifty-seven percent of companies increased their number of full-time staff and 62 percent boosted their revenue in 2013, according to the results. Small and mid-cap companies’ access to finance also improved in January, as the ease of obtaining funding from equity markets reached a record high, according to the statement.

The survey, conducted by research firm YouGov Plc, was based on 215 interviews with companies and advisers between Jan. 14 and Jan. 27. Small and mid-cap companies include those that trade on the London Stock Exchange with market values below the biggest 350 firms, according to BDO’s website.

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