The outlook of businesses in Hong Kong is becoming more optimistic, according to the latest Dun & Bradstreet Survey of Business Expectations. Its overall index jumped from 21 in the first quarter to 39 in the second quarter, indicating more companies had faith in the overall economy, the United States-based company said. The index has achieved a 41-point increase compared with the same quarter in 1999, up from minus two. 'Hong Kong appears to be moving confidently forward into the second quarter, powered by surging inter-regional trade, in particular mainland China trade, which is expected to grow along with the permanent normalised trade relations with the US,' said Dun & Bradstreet. The business information provider's index is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents expecting decreases from those expecting increases, in categories of net sales, net profits, new orders, selling prices, inventories and recruitment in the coming quarter. The survey involves more than 500 companies in Hong Kong and covers a broad range of industries and sizes. Selling-price expectation entered positive territory for the first time in two years, advancing to 16 points from minus six the previous quarter. Inventory level expectation made the biggest gain, jumping from three to 21.