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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- A four-day surge in the stock market came to an end on Friday as falling commodity prices brought down energy and mining companies.

Signs of a slowing economy rattled commodity markets. The price of crude oil dropped 2 percent to $91 a barrel as weak U.S. economic reports followed forecasts for weaker oil demand.

Gold plunged $64 to $1,501 an ounce, reaching its lowest level since July 2011.

One trigger for all this is a government report that U.S. wholesale prices declined the most in 10 months in March.

Second steel operation expansion in Arkansas

Here in Arkansas, you've heard a lot about Big River Steel, the planned $1.1 billion steel plant proposed for Osceola.

But now, another steel operation is talking about expansion.

Nucor-Yamoto Steel this week asking the nearby city of Blytheville to enter into an agreement to issue bonds to finance a planned $115 million expansion of the company's steel mill.

The Blytheville City Council is scheduled to consider the request on Tuesday. Nucor announced the planned expansion last year. It's expected to create between 10 and 15 jobs.

Nucor has been opposing a plan for Arkansas to provide a $125 million financing package for Big River Steel.

The Legislature approved part of that package last week.

Arkansas Business list of state's top employers

Also this week: Arkansas Business presenting its annual list of the state's top employers.

The biggest employer in Arkansas remains the state government, with more than 57-thousand employees. That's up more than 1 percent from last year.

At No. 2 is the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, with 47,700 employees in Arkansas. That's up 2 and a half percent from last year.

No. 3 is Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale. That company has 23,000 workers in Arkansas, flat from last year.

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