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    Arkansas Business: China economy expansion affects Wall Street

    7:12 AM, Apr 16, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- Stocks logging their worst day of the year yesterday amid worries about an economic slowdown in China fueled a steep drop in commodity prices.

    China economy expansion affects Wall Street

    The trigger for the sell-off came from China, where the world's second-largest economy expanded 7.7 percent in the first three months of the year well below forecasts of 8 percent or better.

    That news pummeled copper, oil and other commodities. Shares of oil and mining companies fared the worst because China is a huge importer of their products.
    According to one economist, investors "are realizing that the global economy isn't as strong as they expected it to be."

    Yesterday's market tumble beginning hours before reports of two bombs exploding at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. That attack adding to investors' worries.

    Former real estate developer pleads not guilty

    Here in Arkansas, former northwest Arkansas real estate developer Brandon Barber pleaded not guilty to an assortment of money laundering and fraud charges during an arraignment hearing Monday in Fayetteville.

    Barber, who faces 30 counts including bank fraud, money laundering and concealment of assets, is free on $500,000 bond and is under GPS monitoring until trial, set for June 17.

    Barber, 37, is also under house arrest. His three co-defendants K. Vaughn Knight, James Van Doren, and Jeff Whorton also entered not guilty pleas.

    The will all be tried together.

    Last Simmons First National Corp. meeting for Tommy May

    And tonight is Tommy May's final Simmons First National Corp. annual meeting as CEO of the bank company.

    May is retiring at the end of the year. George Makris, who has been on the Simmons board for 15 years, will succeed him.

    In January 2010, May told Arkansas Business that he hoped to work four more years and retire when he reached 67. He has stuck to that schedule.

    May has been CEO of the Pine Bluff-based publicly traded company since 1994.

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