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Last week, after the 1000 point plunge in the DJIA, the media loaded up on the word “confidence”.  Did the breakdown in the markets, the failure of  circuit breakers and the knowledge that high frequency computers running algorithms, shatter confidence in the markets?  We should have the answer in the next couple weeks.  What about when it comes to buying and selling businesses?  Business Brokers, including our own, have seen a healthy increase in activity resulting in closed deals over the same period last year.  Coinciding with what we are seeing, recent economic indicators have shown an improvement in service and manufacturing sectors.  The improvements although modest are not near levels that automatically instill confidence a recovery is at hand.  So what is compelling buyers to plunge ahead and take on acquisitions?  An analysis of the completed deals over the past several months may provide some clues.  In our case a common factor has been the business not only survived 2009 but managed to grow its top line revenues and in several cases increase its EBITDA by paying closer attention to the lower portion of the profit & loss statement.  These businesses have created an aura of confidence around them that indicates if the ship survived the perfect storm in can survive anything.  What about the Titanic?  Could the recent turmoil in Europe be creating chinks in the confidence armor and give pause to the acquisitions of businesses?  We will need more data to make a valid determination.  If the shelving of several IPOs of the past couple weeks is any indication,  a wait and see approach may be building.  We would feel more confident if there were some evidence that small business owners are hiring and making capital improvements.