LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- October has traditionally been a scary month on Wall Street for investors, mainly because the month has seen some of history's biggest stock crashes.

With October's gains, the S&P 500 is now up 23.1 percent for the year. The Dow Jones industrial average is 18.6 percent higher, and the Nasdaq composite index is up 29.8 percent.

But that wasn't the case for this October, where the S&P 500 index closed at a record high seven times and ended the month up 4.5 percent.

The market climbed even after October began with the 16-day government shutdown and the threat of a potentially calamitous U.S. default.

In all, with October's gains, the S&P 500 is now up 23 percent for the year. The Dow is up nearly 19 percent, and the Nasdaq is up almost 30 percent.

Conway Regional Health considering partnership

Another health care system is thinking about finding a partner amid regulatory and other changes to the industry.

Conway Regional Health System's Board of Directors said Thursday that it is exploring, quote, "potential strategic affiliation options," including partnering with another health care provider or system.

The system said its board has been researching the options for "months." It plans to invite potential partners to offer ideas about different affiliation options.

Chairman Bart Throneberry said if a viable partnership proposal presents itself, it will then consider moving into formal contractual negotiations.

You'll recall that UAMS and St. Vincent Health System spent much of the last year pondering their own partnership, which the two ultimately abandoned.

Arkansas delegation proposes trucking legislation

A group of Arkansas' congressional delegates proposing key legislation for Arkansas trucking firms.

Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman, along with Rick Crawford, proposed legislation Thursday that would instruct the U.S. Department of Transportation to recognize hair testing as an option when conducting drug and alcohol testing on truck drivers.

Arkansas Business wrote about the issue back in June. Hair testing is more accurate and is more tamper-proof than urinalysis, which is the industry's current standard.

The law will allow the trucking firms, like Arkansas' JB Hunt, which uses hair testing, to share those results with other firms in the industry.

The bills each have the support of the Arkansas Trucking Association.

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