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BUSINESS OPTIMISM LEVELS OFF

The outlook for sales and profits, which slumped during the second half of 1989, leveled off for the first quarter of this year, according to a survey of business executives released Friday.

The survey, conducted by Dun & Bradstreet Corp., indicated "business optimism has reached a turning point and businesses are regathering strength for the second half of 1990, said Joseph Duncan, a Dun & Bradstreet economist. "Prices have moderated, inventories are in line and new orders are respectable."

The survey of 1,500 manufacturing, retailing and wholesaling executives was conducted in November.

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