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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- Stocks pull back a bit yesterday as investors took in some lackluster economic news.

Among the reports: the latest on jobs showed applications for unemployment benefits rising last week.

The Labor Department said applications rose by 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 360,000 the most since late March.

Manufacturing Slows in mid-Atlantic Region

And manufacturing slowed in the mid-Atlantic region. The Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve reported that manufacturers there said business conditions slumped this month.

Orders for manufactured goods and shipments have been weak.

Wal-Mart Reporting First-quarter Sales Decline

Here in Arkansas, some disappointing results from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville.

The retailer early yesterday reported a first-quarter same-store sales decline of 1.4 percent and earnings that missed analysts' expectations.

This, as CEO Mike Duke cited "considerable headwinds" that affected sales.

Among the factors bringing down the retailer is unseasonable weather that put off spring and summer purchases and a rise in the payroll tax and a delay in tax refunds, which put a damper on spending in general.

For the first quarter, Wal-Mart reported profit of $3.8 billion, up from $3.7 billion last year.

Sales reached $114 billion, up 1 percent from the same quarter year. But analysts had expected more, looking for sales to $116 billion.

Investors are not happy with Wal-Mart's performance; its stock ending down $1.36 to $78.50 yesterday.

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