The latest National Bank survey shows business confidence is returning, with results pointing to the biggest monthly improvement in almost a decade.
A net 15% of respondents say they expect the market to deteriorate, compared with almost 40% a month ago, while a net 4% are worried about the outlook for companies.
National Bank chief economist Cameron Bagrie says a turning point appears to have been reached and that this could be an indication that a recovery is taking hold.
However, the survey says businesses are still being hit hard by the weak economy, with 19% still expecting to lay off staff.
The monthly survey analyses where the economy will head in the next 12 months.
Confidence down - ASB survey
The National Bank findings contrast with an ASB Bank investor confidence survey for the March quarter that shows confidence has hit its lowest level in 10 years.
The ASB survey found that a net 25% of respondents believe their investment returns will deteriorate in the coming year, compared with 20% in the previous quarter.
Twenty-one percent of investors favour bank savings as their preferred investment option, up from 16% in the fourth quarter.
Residential property investment, which usually comes out on top, remained second on 15%.
Support for term deposits eased to 13% and sharemarket investments fell slightly to 6%.
New Zealand has been in recession since early 2008.