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    Arkansas Business headlines for Jan. 31

    8:02 AM, Jan 31, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- Wall Street suffers a setback after a big growth spurt in January.

    The Dow down 44 to 13-9-10, only the second time in the past two weeks it's fallen. The Nasdaq fell 11 to 31-42 and the S&P suffered its biggest decline since December, slipping six points to 15-02. 

    Two main factors explain the market's performance yesterday: First, investors were concerned about the U.S. economy, which shrank for the first time since the end of the recession.

    And second, the Federal Reserve not exactly showing bullish behavior by saying it needs to continue its bond-buying program to spur growth.

    Here in Arkansas, Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith reporting a loss for the fourth quarter.

    The trucking company says it had a net loss of $7.9 million after scoring a profit of $1.4 million during the same quarter last year.

    This, as the company continues to negotiate a contract with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union. CEO Judy McReynolds says she expects a deal to be place by March 31, but warned that if a new agreement couldn't be reached, the company would consider closing terminals and distribution centers as a cost-cutting measure.

    No details on how many or which terminals would be affected were mentioned.

    And Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock wrapping up the third quarter of its fiscal year, reporting a net income increase of 83 percent.

    Total revenue for the marketing and data company was $273 million in the quarter, which was actually down 2.8 percent from the same quarter last year.

    Also yesterday, good jobs news from south Arkansas:

    Anthony Timberlands Inc., one of the largest private companies in Arkansas, says it will add second shifts in three departments at its flagship plant in Bearden.

    The addition of the shifts on Feb. 4 will require hiring about 65 new employees.

    And finally, Tuesday's announcement of the Big River Steel plant to be built in Osceola was not only good news for the northeast Arkansas region, but also an opportunity for investors.

    The Arkansas Teachers Retirement System saying it will vote on Monday whether it should invest $60 million into the $1.1 billion project.

    System Executive Director George Hopkins says the fund could see not just a cash return, but a 40 percent return by 2018.

    As large as $60 million sounds, the investment would represent just one-half of one percent of the fund's $12.25 billion in assets.

    And one more quarterly report to share, Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado says it had a better fourth-quarter in 2012 with net income of $158.7 million compared to a net loss of $113.9 million from the year before.

    (Source: Arkansas Business)

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