Arkansas Business: Stocks spike as consumers spend more

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- The S&P 500 closing within six points of its all-time high yesterday, less than two weeks after slumping.

Investors on Tuesday encouraged by economic reports that suggested growth may be poised to pick up, while inflation remains subdued.

A pair of company earnings reports also hinted that consumers are getting more confident and spending more.

Home Depot, the nation's largest home improvement retailer, rose after raising its annual profit forecast following a strong spring selling season.

Leadership change at Windstream

Telecommunications firm Windstream Inc. announced that Brent Whittington, its chief operating officer, is resigning effective Sept. 1.

Whittington has been COO since August 2009. Before that, he was CFO. Whittington worked at Alltel Corp., the firm that created Windstream in 2006, before that.

Neither Whittington nor Windstream gave a reason for the departure. But Whittington said in a news release that he was proud of all the firm has accomplished over the past eight years.

Meanwhile, Windstream will eliminate the COO position after Whittington leaves and split its duties between two other executives.

Arkadelphia bank buys Mississippi bank

Southern Bancorp Inc. of Arkadelphia says it will buy the smallest bank in Mississippi, the Bank of Bolivar County.

No details of the deal were included in the announcement. But the Bank of Bolivar County, founded in 1940, had $17.3 million in assets as of June 30, the smallest of 84 financial institutions currently chartered in Mississippi.

It operates two branches Shelby and one in Mound Bayou.

Southern Bancorp said that Mound Bayou is "one of the nation's first independent African-American communities."

But its "economic challenges" have "been exacerbated by the fact that the community's only bankā€¦ was limited in its lending ability due to size and increased regulations."

But Southern Bancorp CEO Darrin Williams said Southern, which is a Community Development Financial Institution, can help fill that need.


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