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    Arkansas Business: S&P 500 closes at an all-time high

    6:20 AM, Oct 18, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- Stock back on the rise on Thursday as Wall Street put the government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis behind it and focused on corporate earnings.

    The S&P rising 0.7 percent to close at a record high, nine of the 10 industry groups in the index finished higher, with technology the only group that fell.

    The market rose throughout the day as investors got back to focusing on corporate earnings and economic data.

    The Dow ended the day down two points, held back by declines in IBM, Goldman Sachs and UnitedHealth. IBM falling after it said third-quarter revenue dropped and missed Wall Street's forecast by more than $1 billion.

    USA Truck reports 3rd qtr. loss

    USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren, Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff and Home Bancshares Inc. of Conway all turned in quarterly earnings.

    USA Truck reporting a narrower third-quarter loss, $602,000, as revenue rose 13.5 percent to nearly $142 million.

    The company, which is the target of a takeover attempt by Knight Transportation of Scottsdale, Ariz., lost $6.1 million in the third quarter last year.

    It is has been working to turn around the company since last year.

    Simmons First 3rd qtr. net income $6.9 million

    Simmons First reported third-quarter net income of $6.9 million, up about 2.5 percent from the same period last year.

    Thanks to a stock buy-back program, earnings per share for the quarter were up as well by almost 5 percent, reaching 43 cents. Simmons, of course, continuing work on its acquisition of Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock, which is scheduled to close Dec. 1.

    Home Bancshares reports record quarter net income

    Home BancShares reported another record quarter for net income, which reached $18.4 million, up 14 percent from last year.

    That bank working on an acquisition of its own, its $280 million deal to buy Liberty Bancshares Inc. of Jonesboro is set to close Oct. 24.

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