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Index said to signal growth in 9 states

OMAHA, Neb. -- The economy in nine Midwestern and Plains states was hampered in part by tariffs and flooding last month, but it should continue to grow over the next three to six months, according to a report released Monday.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index rose to 55.4 in June after a reading of 54.3 in May, the report said. The April figure was 55.9.

"Weak farm income, produced partially by tariffs and flooding, pulled regional growth below that of the nation," said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey. "Even so ... I expect overall growth to remain solidly positive."

The results from the survey of supply managers were compiled into a collection of indexes with scores ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth.

The overall index for Arkansas rose last month to 60.1 from May's 55.9. Index components included new orders at 57, production or sales at 58.2, delivery lead time at 60.7, inventories at 61 and employment at 63.7.

-- The Associated Press

Puerto Rico board sues over fuel buys

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- A federal control board overseeing Puerto Rico's finances filed a lawsuit on Sunday to recover what it said were large fraudulent payments made to fuel suppliers by the island's power company.

The lawsuit was filed against fuel companies Trafigura and Vitol, which the board accuses of supplying low-grade oil, as well as three laboratories accused of receiving money for falsifying tests on oil bought by Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority.

The board said billions of dollars of overpayments from 2002 to 2015 led in part to the power company's insolvency and caused it to slide deeper into debt. The board noted that fuel oil purchases are the company's single largest expense.

The power company is required by contract and environmental regulation to buy only high-grade oil, the board said.

Power company spokeswoman Edith Seda said no one was immediately available for comment. Trafigura and Vitol did not immediately return messages for comment.

-- The Associated Press

State index off 1.19, closes day at 413.46

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Monday at 413.46, down 1.19 points.

"U.S. stocks closed higher on Monday but off their highs that pushed the S&P 500 to a record," said Chris Harkins, managing director at Raymond James & Associates in Little Rock. "Gains were fueled by investors' hopes for progress in U.S.-China trade talks and amid signs of a likely reprieve for Chinese telecom company Huawei."

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Business on 07/02/2019

Print Headline: Index said to signal growth in 9 states Puerto Rico board sues over fuel buys State index off 1.19, closes day at 413.46

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