Small businesses across the nation expressed some optimism in April, but are still cautious about weak sales due to concerns regarding the economy and the possible outcome of the new health care laws that are set to be implemented on January 1, 2014. The National Federation of Independent Business’s Small Business Optimism Index rose by 2.6 points in April to 92.1, the highest level since October, but below the 94.5 registered a year ago. The jobs component of the index ticked up a bit, but owners expect that business conditions will be weaker six months from now than they are today.

Freddie Mac announced today that its streamlined modification program that had been originally scheduled to begin on July 1, 2013, will start immediately to to expedite financial relief for potentially thousands of distressed families across the nation. There are some stipulations for the program – servicers are required to send modification offers to borrowers who are at least 90 days, but no more than 720 days, delinquent on mortgages that are at least 12 months old and meet other eligibility criteria. Borrowers will not be required to submit documentation and the modification will become permanent after the borrower demonstrates their ability to pay on-time payments during the three month trial period.

There were no high impact economic reports released today, but the rest of the week investors will see readings on consumer and wholesale inflation, housing numbers, manufacturing and consumer sentiment.

The ongoing debate of the Quantitative Easing (QE) program currently underway by the U.S. Federal reserve continues today. Charles Plosser of the Philadelphia Fed Bank said last night that due to the recent recovery in the economy, the Fed should now start to taper their purchases of the Bond buying program and the program should end by December 31, 2013. The Fed is currently purchasing $85 billion a month in Mortgage and Treasury securities in an effort to stimulate the economy and to promote job growth.