LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- Stocks falling on Thursday, under pressure from weak European economic data and more worried about the growing banking crisis in Cyprus.

The European Central Bank has threatened to end emergency support of that country's banks next week unless leaders can secure more funding.

Cyprus must raise about $7.5 billion in the next four days to avoid bankruptcy. Several plans have already failed.

Gradually improving U.S. jobs, housing markets

Still, there was some good news about the U.S. jobs and housing markets, which continue to improve gradually.

Sales of existing homes rose in February to a three-year high, according to the National Association of Realtors.

And the Labor Department said the number of people claiming new unemployment benefits last week remained near a five-year low.

Ark. law firm on hiring binge

Speaking of jobs, an Arkansas law firm on a hiring binge of its own.

The law firm Kutak Rock, citing increasing demand, has added 12 lawyers to offices in Little Rock and Fayetteville.

The new lawyers, three of-counsel and nine associates, joined the firm's corporate, litigation and real estate practices.

Terry Pool, the firm's managing partner for Arkansas, said the new lawyers are part of a "very active growth period" for the firm, and will help Kutak Rock meet an increasing demand for the its legal services.

Deltic Timber sees increased compensation

And last year's housing industry rebound helped lead to increased compensation for executives at Deltic Timber Corp. of El Dorado.

Ray Dillon, president and CEO of the real estate and timber company, saw his total compensation rise to $2.5 million in 2012, up from $1.9 million in 2011.

That's according to the company's latest proxy statement.

Deltic reported profit of $9.2 million in 2012, exceeding its profit of $2.7 million in 2011.

The firm credited the improved showing to a 28 percent increase in housing starts in the U.S. last year over 2011.

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