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    Arkansas Business headlines Jan. 7

    7:31 AM, Jan 7, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- Stocks end on a high note Friday after a decent report on national employment.

    The S&P closing at its highest level in five years on Friday after a report showed that hiring held up in December, giving stocks an early lift.

    The U.S. Labor Department reporting that the economy added 155-thousand jobs in December and that hiring held up during the tense fiscal negotiations in Washington.

    It also said hiring was stronger in November than first thought. The unemployment rate held steady at 7.8 percent.

    That jobs report failed to give stocks more of a boost because the number of jobs was exactly in line with analysts' forecasts

    Here in Arkansas, the latest on state Treasurer Martha Shoffner.

    Arkansas Business newspaper reporting today sources who have confirmed that Shoffner -- a Democrat -- had been under criminal investigation for more than a year when, on Dec. 14, the Republican-led Legislative Joint Auditing Committee voted to refer an audit of her office to state and federal authorities.

    According to sources that have been interviewed by the FBI, investigators are examining more than Shoffner's financial dealings with bond brokers doing business with the State Treasurer's Office.

    They also are delving into allegations that she converted political campaign funds to personal income.

    Shoffner -- whose second and final term as state treasurer ends Dec. 31, 2014 -- couldn't be reached for comment.

    The FBI has a policy of neither confirming nor denying investigations.

    And speaking of politics, the Arkansas Legislative session just around the corner.

    Later today, Gov. Mike Beebe and other legislative leaders including House Speaker Davy Carter and Senate President Pro-Tem Michael Lamoureux are scheduled to preview their plans for the upcoming legislative session.

    That legislative session expected to center on a possible expansion of Medicaid in Arkansas. It begins January 14.

    (Source: Arkansas Business)

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