JERSEY CITY -- Chief executives of midsize companies in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut reported they are making more profits than last year and are optimistic, according to a survey released Thursday by National Westminster Bancorp.

The business confidence index of midsize firms increased this year to 107, from 97 last year, the bank reported. The index, created by Natwest six years ago, is a composite of future expectations and present performance of companies with annual sales between $5 million and $25 million.

This year is the first time the index surpassed 100 since 1988 when the economy was merely steady.

Of 550 executives interviewed 50% said business improved 1993 from 1992. Last year only 45% of chief executives reported growth in their companies. This year's response is the highest response since 1988, when 60% of chief executives reported growth.

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