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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- Stocks end higher on Friday despite looming budget cuts.

An encouraging manufacturing report nudged the stock market higher on Friday, giving it a slight gain for the week, even as a deadline for avoiding sweeping government spending cuts loomed.

The Dow was down by as much as 117 points in early trading but recovered following news that U.S. manufacturing expanded in February at the fastest pace since June 2011.

The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index reached 54.2, up from January's reading of 53.1. Any reading above 50 signals growth.

All this, amid final negotiations between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders aimed at avoiding the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts that kicked in Friday.

The cuts are part of a 10-year, $1.5 trillion deficit reduction plan that was designed to be so distasteful to both Democrats and Republicans that they would be forced to drum up a longer-term budget deal.

Tourists visit Clinton Library in big numbers

Here in Arkansas, travelers are still coming to the Clinton Presidential Library in significant numbers.

That's according Terri Garner, the director of the library.

Garner is featured in this week's Arkansas Business newspaper, which focuses on tourism in Arkansas.

Garner's figures show attendance at the library, which opened in 2004, as being above 300,000people per year since fiscal year 2009.

Attendance was more than 353,000 in fiscal year 2012. Attendance topped 447,000 in fiscal 2005.

Ark. Governor's Conference on Tourism this week

And speaking of tourism, the annual Arkansas Governor's Conference on Tourism is taking place now through Tuesday in Hot Springs.

The event brings in hundreds of professionals from the state's tourism community to focus on the coming year through seminars and workshops.

The conference also includes the Henry Awards, which honor outstanding achievements in state tourism.

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