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    Arkansas Business: Argenta Innovation Center announced

    7:24 AM, Jul 31, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- A timid Wall Street didn't offer much on Tuesday. The S&P followed the lead of the Dow and registered a gain of almost two-thirds of a point.

    Investors are sitting on their hands while waiting for the Federal Reserve to release its updated policy statement, due Wednesday. Chairman Benjamin Bernanke has already said the Fed will start holding back on bond purchases if the nation's economy continues to improve, although no timetable has been set for that to happen.

    Entergy announces 800 layoffs across country

    Entergy Corporation is down 1.32 percent after the company announced Tuesday that it plans to cut 800 jobs companywide, including about 165 in Arkansas.

    Louisiana, where most of the company's employees live, will have the most cuts with 240. The rest of the eliminated positions will be in Texas, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Vermont.

    The 165 layoffs here in Arkansas amount to about six percent of the company's 3,500 workers in the state.

    Entergy Arkansas Inc. President and CEO Hugh McDonald says most of the cuts will come from management, but will vary by state and company division. Laid off employees will be supported with a competitive severance program, he said.

    Entergy also announced second-quarter earnings on Tuesday that were 55 percent lower from the same quarter last year.

    Community Health plans acquisition of HMA

    Shares of Health Management Associates Inc., or HMA, plunged ten percent after fellow hospital operator Community Health Systems announced plans to buy the company at a discount to its current stock price.

    HMA says its second-quarter earnings will likely fall below expectations, and that it has received a fresh round of subpoenas from federal regulators.

    Per the deal, Community Health Systems said it will pay a combination of cash and stock valued at $13.78 for each HMA share. Stock closed Tuesday at $13.30.

    In Arkansas, Community Health owns hospitals in eight cities, including Northwest Arkansas Medical Center in Bentonville and Springdale.

    Health Management Associates owns Sparks Regional Medical Center in Fort Smith and Summit Medical Center in Van Buren.

    Argenta Innovation Center announced

    A group of business leaders on Tuesday announced the Argenta Innovation Center, a 15,000-SF space designed to give local entrepreneurs a place to build their ideas and create new companies around technology and engineering.

    The project is driven by the innovation hub's capital campaign committee, which is working to raise $2.5 million to purchase and renovate the building.

    So far, the committee has received pledges for about half the money it needs.

    The center is located in a building that once housed a police substation, sitting just a block off Main Street in downtown North Little Rock.

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