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    Arkansas Business: Stocks end lower after earnings reports

    7:17 AM, Jan 24, 2014   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The Dow was down by as much as 200 points at one point yesterday. At the close of trading, the Dow had logged its biggest percentage decline, 1.1 percent, since September after a survey from China suggested that manufacturing in the world's second-largest economy was contracting.

    HSBC's survey of Chinese manufacturing fell to the lowest point since July and suggested that the country's factory sector is shrinking.

    Earlier this week, China reported its slowest annual economic growth since 1999.

    Shares of several U.S. companies fell after reporting their latest quarterly results, including KeyCorp, Johnson Controls and Jacobs Engineering.

    J.B. Hunt earnings down 1 percent

    Shares of J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell closing down 1 percent after it missed analysts' earnings per share predictions.

    Still, quarterly profit at the trucking and logistics firm was up 9 percent to $92 million.

    Revenue was up nearly 10 percent to $1.47 billion. The profit boost came as certain J.B. Hunt divisions added customers and the number of loads.

    Simmons National reports lower earnings

    Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff ending half a percent lower after the bank holding company reported lower quarterly profit.

    Simmons said $4 million in expenses and bank consolidations related to its merger with Metropolitan National Bank cut into fourth-quarter profit, which was down 53 percent to $3.2 million.

    Bank executives were upbeat, though. Core earnings -- profit that doesn't take into account the one-time hit caused by merger costs -- were actually up 5 percent to $7.7 million.

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