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    Arkansas Business headlines for Feb. 8

    7:13 AM, Feb 8, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- Wall Street still in a slump as investors stall the rally that began this year.

    Weak earnings and continued jitters over the state of the economy in Europe dampening spirits. Still, news such as a report saying unemployment numbers are trending downward kept the market from going into a tailspin.

    Other mixed news: Retailers reporting strong sales during the month of January. Analysts caution that consumer spending could slow down with gas prices rising and the two-percent payroll tax that went into effect last month.

    FedEx, the Memphis shipping company, says it's giving $100,000 to the University of Arkansas Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History.

    The Pryor Center records and collects stories told by the people who have lived and influenced Arkansas history. The interviews are a resource for historians, researchers, teachers, students, documentary filmmakers and anyone else who wants to know more about Arkansas history.

    The center is investing in a mobile interviewing and editing facility called the Arkansas Story Bus.

    FedEx giving to an Arkansas subject and also leaving behind an Arkansas subject.

    The company says it will not sponsor nor participate in a Memphis business conference that will feature former Arkansas death row inmate Damien Echols as a speaker.

    FedEx says Echols' invitation didn't match the company's understanding of what the conference hopes to accomplish.

    Echols served 18 years in prison after being convicted of killing three boys in West Memphis in 1993. He was released with two others in 2011 after an Alford plea agreement with the state.

    Century 21 Exclamation Realty in Bentonville and Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney Faucette in Fayetteville are merging.

    This move helps Coldwell Banker expand as one of the region's largest firm. Last year the conglomerate reported 159 agents with $348.51 million in sale.

    Financial terms were not available.

    And productivity in the U.S. is down, the Labor Department reports.

    Measuring the amount of output completed per hour, productivity shrank two percent between October and December.

    The study looks at the cost of labor versus the amount of money that comes back into a business, and not so much your Internet time at work or filling out March Madness brackets.

    (Source: Arkansas Business)

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