It's too soon to call it a turnaround in business confidence, but ...
Relative to the big slumps in sentiment the ANZ Business Outlook Survey has recorded in the past year, there are some positive signs in today's release.
Perhaps the worst is over.
"It's a start," said ANZ chief economist Sharon Zollner. "All up, we'd take the mixed signals out of this month's survey as a positive sign, as it interrupts a deteriorating trend."
Headline confidence actually jumped in the October survey, suggesting that optimism may be starting to creep back into the general business outlook.
Perhaps it's the arrival of spring but since the last survey there have been some reassuring signs of progress in the US/China trade dispute, New Zealand commodity export prices have improved and Fonterra has upped its milk price payout.
Retail borrowing rates have continued to fall and we've even seen the Government make a few business-friendly policy calls.
The ANZ survey has attracted controversy for effectively pointing the way on the economic slowdown this year.
But this month headline business confidence jumped 12 points.
Zollner calls the increase in business confidence welcome, although she notes this question is the one that respondents can answer with the least certainty.
It has certainly been the one that critics of the survey have been quickest to dismiss.
She warns that a net 42 per cent of respondents still report that they expect general business conditions to deteriorate in the year ahead.
"The expected own activity measure is something firms know more about and so is a better economic indicator," she said. "This ticked down again."
"However, it appears that the activity indicators are generally finding a floor. It's true that the levels for most indicators remain uninspiring, but it's good to see signs of bottoming out".
Firms' expectations for their own activity over the year ahead (which is considered a better economic indicator) fell two points to -4, the fifth fall in a row.
It was the lowest read since April 2009 but was still well off the recession low of -21.
More positive was that profit expectations rose four points, although they remain in the red with a net 21 per cent of respondents expecting profitability to decline.
Commercial construction intentions jumped 13 points to be flat; residential lifted 14 points to -5.
Investment intentions rose three points but remain negative at -6 per cent.
Pricing intentions rose six points, with a net 24 per cent of firms now expecting to raise prices, but they fell 10 points in the retail sector.
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Inflation expectations were broadly unchanged at 1.62 per cent.
Cost pressures rose one point, with a net 48 per cent of firms now expecting higher costs.
A continued downward trend in employment intentions remains concerning - they were down one point, with a net 9 per cent of firms intending to reduce employment.
The retail sector also remained very downbeat.
"Of all the sectors, they have the weakest own activity, profits and employment (despite pretty robust consumer confidence), and the highest expected cost pressure," Zollner said.
"Encouragingly, things seem to be looking up for the construction sector. It is among the strongest (not saying a great deal, admittedly) for business confidence, profits, investment and capacity utilisation."