The most recent Controllers Confidence Index, compiled by the Controllers Council of the Institute of Management Accountants, Montvale, N.J., shows senior financial executives far more bullish on the short-term outlook for the U.S. economy than they were in the final quarter of 1998. The index stands now at 71.3, up dramatically from 58.8 in 1998's final quarter. The survey rates responses on a scale of 1 to 100. Nearly half of the 275 executives surveyed believe the U.S. economy is still expanding; only 7% believe it's contracting. An impressive 91% expect inflation to be 3% or less throughout 1999. For the year 2000, the executives are slightly bearish: 48% anticipate an economic upturn; 52% believe there'll be a downturn.