LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- The Dow closing at another record high, it beat the record it set last Tuesday by 66 points. The S&P, meanwhile, ending just one point below its own all-time high.

One of the biggest gainers in the S&P 500 index was Ralph Lauren, which rose more than 5 percent to $180.52 per share.

This, as the luxury retailer reported earnings that beat analysts' estimates and issued an optimistic forecast for the holiday season.

Acxiom posts 40 percent drop in quarterly earnings

Earnings are in from Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock. The publicly traded data firm posting earnings of $9.8 million; that's down about 40 percent from the $16 million it posted in the same quarter 2013.

Revenue, meanwhile, is pretty much flat at $276 million. All this is during a quarter marked by one-time expenses including restructuring charges.

And speaking of restructuring, there appears to be more of that on the horizon. Executives saying they're working to cut 20 to 30 million dollars in costs over the next six to 12 months.

Acxiom says it wants to simplify its management structure and workflows to find more efficiencies. It said it plans to invest those cost savings in other parts of the company.

Acxiom has about 2,000 workers in Arkansas.

Business leaders gather for conference

Business leaders gathering at the Clinton Library for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's annual economic forecast conference.

UALR economist Michael Pakko said that while Arkansas weathered the recession a bit better than other states, it's recently fallen behind in recovery.

He predicted a continued slow and bumpy recovery with the state falling behind the nation mostly in labor market indicators, but with home sale trends in the state suggesting reason for optimism.

He also said the state unemployment rate, static for the past two years, should dip to below 6 percent at around 5.9 percent by the end of 2015.

CFO of the Year Awards presented

Business holding its annual CFO of the Year Awards yesterday at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock.

An independent panel of judges selects honorees for the awards, which shine the spotlight on chief financial officers in government, business and nonprofits.

Two received special awards: Gene Whisenhunt of Hickingbotham Investments of Little Rock received the CFO Lifetime Achievement Award, and Phillip Cox of JPMS Cox of Little Rock received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Accounting.

You can learn about all the outstanding winners right now on

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