Arkansas Business: Corporate earnings reports left stocks down

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- Mixed signals from corporate earnings reports and the latest on the economy left markets little changed on Thursday.

Among the big movers, shares of Facebook rose 5 percent and was among the top gainers in the S&P 500 after the social media giant beat earnings expectations on Wednesday.

But the Dow was weighed down by shares of heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar, which fell 3 percent after the company's quarterly revenue fell short of forecasts.

Caterpillar operates a motor-grader manufacturing plant in North Little Rock.

And homebuilder stocks slid after the government reported that new home sales dropped 8.1 percent last month.

Walmart Inc. executive announced resignation

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville announcing early Thursday morning that Bill Simon, 54, president and CEO of its U.S. stores division, is leaving the company.

The retailer named Greg Foran, 53, as his successor. He takes over on Aug. 9.

Simon had been the leader of Wal-Mart's domestic operations since June 2010.

He had led Wal-Mart's move toward small store formats and even offering $4 prescription drugs.

Wal-Mart didn't say why Simon was leaving the company.

But Simon's division, made up of Wal-Mart's discount stores in the U.S., has struggled with declining same-store sales, which have fallen for five straight quarters.

Maverick USA visited by Governor Beebe

Gov. Mike Beebe was on hand yesterday as Maverick Transportation of North Little Rock opened its $4 million driver training center.

Maverick, a subsidiary of Maverick USA Inc., is predominantly a flatbed trailer company, and founder Steve Williams makes his drivers go through specialized training to deal with load safety and other issues.

The new training center expanded Maverick's previous facility by more than 13,000 SF and has space to train 210 drivers at any one time.


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