LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- The Dow closing nearly 300 point higher on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve announced it would begin dialing back the stimulus efforts that have been keeping interest rates low and driving a big run in the stock market.

The Fed emerged from a two-day policy meeting to say it will trim its $85 billion a month in bond purchases by $10 billion starting in January.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed expects to make -- quote -- "similar moderate" cuts in its purchases if economic gains continue.

But the Fed also strengthened its commitment to record-low short-term rates. It said it plans to hold rates near zero "well past" the time when unemployment falls below 6.5 percent. Unemployment is now 7 percent.

Hewlett-Packard announces big job hire

Hewlett-Packard Inc. announced that it will hire 200 software engineers and programmers for its operation at Conway.

The announcement comes about five months after HP laid off 500 people at its Conway center, the plant now employs about 800 people.

Officials said they plan to hire for the positions over the course of the 2014 calendar year.

The jobs, management positions, engineers and business analysts, are related to the company's growing health care business. He also said the positions will pay more than the jobs HP cut in the summer.

Meanwhile, state officials are still working with HP to work out how much state incentive money HP will return to Arkansas after last summer's layoffs.

Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, said the state and HP will likely reach an agreement by the end of the year.

Wal-mart expands Sam's Club to China

The Wall Street Journal reports that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expanding its Sam's Club operations in China.

The retailer is looking to add 10 Sam's Club warehouse stores per year over the next six to seven years there.

Wal-Mart sees a lot of upside growth in the country, which only has about 10 club stores now in a country of more than 1 billion people.

In the US, Wal-Mart has more than 500 clubs serving a population of just 300 million.

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