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    Arkansas Business: Murphy Oil Corp. announces earnings

    6:14 AM, May 2, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- Signs of a slowing economy dragged down stocks on Wednesday, even a pledge of more stimulus from the Federal Reserve did little to help.

    Stocks opened lower and kept sagging throughout the day, hurt by reports that showed a slowdown in hiring and manufacturing last month. There was no help on the earnings front either: The big-name companies that reported results mostly disappointed.

    Markets remained in negative territory even after the Federal Reserve released a statement after a two-day policy meeting.

    The Fed is maintaining its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program, which is intended to keep interest rates low to spur borrowing, spending and investing.

    But in a statement, the Fed said that tax increases and spending cuts that kicked in this year are slowing the economy.

    Murphy Oil Corp. releases earnings

    Here in Arkansas, earnings from Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado.

    The oil and gas company said first-quarter net income reached $360 million, up 24 percent from the same quarter of 2012.
    But the company also noted that $152 million of its first quarter income came from discontinued operations, which included oil and gas production it shed in the United Kingdom. Excluding those operations, the company's net income was $208 million, down slightly from $281 million in 2012.

    Peabody Hotel transition complete

    Also yesterday, hotel owners and the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau marked the transformation of the Peabody Hotel into a Marriott.

    Davidson Hotels and Resorts of Atlanta will manage the Marriott, which held a ceremony Wednesday to mark the new name.

    Fairwood Capital of Memphis bought the lease for the hotel from the Peabody Hotel Group and plans a $16 million renovation.

    The hotel has its own meeting spaces and is connected to the 220,000-SF Statehouse Convention Center, which is run by the Visitors & Convention Bureau.

    For its part, the city hopes to see growth in visitor numbers because of the Marriott chain's worldwide name recognition and promotions.

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