ATLANTA - Standard & Poor's Corp. has changed its outlook on West Virginia's A-plus rated general obligation debt to positive from stable, taking the unusual step of holding out hope for an AA and specifying what the state must do to achieve it.

"S&P believes that continued emphasis by the state on its financial reporting and management, combined with the balanced fiscal operations the state has generated over the past three years, supports the potential consideration of a double-A category rating in the three-year time horizon," according to a report co-authored by Steve Nelli, an associate director, and Robert Swerdling, a director.

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