SHARECOMMENTMORE

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- Encouraging economic reports sent stock prices higher on Wall Street on Monday.

Reports out yesterday showed wages and spending rose in the U.S. last month.

Also: pending home sales hit a three-year high.

The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes reached the highest level since April 2010 -- according to the National Association of Realtors.

Back then, a tax credit for buying houses had lifted sales.

Changes at Arkansas Realtors Association

Here in Arkansas, changes at the Arkansas Realtors Association. The association said Monday that it has named Miki Bass as its new CEO.

The long-time ARA executive said she plans to focus on program expansion and member involvement.

The Arkansas Realtors Association has 34 independent local Realtor boards and associations statewide. It is the state arm of the National Association of Realtors.

NW Ark. company working on hybrid car batteries

Also, Arkansas Business this week reporting on new innovations coming out of a northwest Arkansas company working on more efficient batteries for hybrid cars.

Arkansas Power & Electronics International of Fayetteville and four partners have been working on a nearly $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Arkansas Power, which is located in the Arkansas Research & Technology Park in Fayetteville, has been able to craft a smaller, more efficient charger for hybrids like Toyota's Prius.

Arkansas Power's charging device provides nearly triple the power of the standard Prius charger and is about 10 pounds lighter. Efficiency has also improved by about 5 percent.

Arkansas Power says its technology could result in cars that take less time to charge and generate less heat during the conversion process.

The department of energy also hopes the advances will jumpstart the market for electric cars.

SHARECOMMENTMORE