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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- Markets started the day higher, in part on an encouraging report on jobs.

The Labor Department said fewer people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week and claims remain at low levels that are consistent with stronger economic growth.

In all, weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell by 14,000 to 289,000. Still, shares of phone and internet companies were among the day's biggest decliners.

Shares of Windstream Holdings Inc. of Little Rock fell 39 cents, more than 3 percent, to $11.16 after the company reported that earnings fell by 64 percent in the second quarter.

Its results missing analysts' expectations.

Executive change coming to USA Trunk Inc.

An executive change is coming to USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren.

The trucking and logistics firm, which last week reported its first quarterly profit in three years, announced that its CFO and former CEO Cliff Beckham would leave the company at the end of September.

Beckham, who's been with the company 20 years, led USA Truck through a few tough years that saw a takeover attempt by an out-of-state rival and a host of other executive changes.

Beckham says he plans to take some time off before embarking on his next career.

Bale Honda in Little Rock has new ownership

Mark McLarty said Thursday that he's acquired Bale Honda in Little Rock from John H. "Johnny" Bale and John Sahene.

The dealership, at 10 Col. Glenn Court in Little Rock, will operate as Landers-McLarty Honda, with Steve Landers Jr. overseeing day-to-day operations. Landers is a minority partner in the ownership group.

Bale Honda is McLarty's first acquisition in Arkansas since he spending 15 years leading auto dealership groups overseas in places like China, Brazil and Mexico.

Terms of the sale of Bale Honda were not disclosed. Members of Bale family still own Bale Chevrolet, also in Little Rock.

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