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Business news in brief

by - Cyd King- Glen Chase- John Magsam- Brian Fanney- | June 12, 2013 at 3:07 a.m.


“What is marketed as overdraft protection

can, in some instances, put consumers at greater risk of harm.” Richard Cordray, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Article, 1D Wal-Mart posts plan to buy data startup

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has plans to acquire Palo Alto, Calif.-based Inkiru, a small startup that uses data analysis to improve e-commerce, the means of selling products and services through online stores, the company announced in a post on the company’s @WalmartLabs blog Tuesday. @WalmartLabs is a technology group within the retailer’s e-commerce division.

Wal-Mart President and CEO Mike Duke told shareholders last week that e-commerce sales are expected to top $10 billion this fiscal year. This latest acquisition and others are contributors to that end.

“The similarities between Inkiru and @WalmartLabs are uncanny, with both having an innovative spirit and the ability to leverage big data to improve the customer experience,” the blog post said. The addition of Inkiru is expected to accelerate the retail giant’s analytics capabilities. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Fruit growers put on pest larvae alert

Arkansas fruit producers are being urged by the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service to monitor their crops for the spotted wing drosophila fly.

On May 22, the Extension Service confirmed that the pest had been caught in traps in Pope County. Adult flies have also been detected in Izard, Johnson and Washington counties.

The fly lays its eggs on ripening fruit, where the larvae feed, damaging the fruit before harvest and hurting its value.

On Tuesday, the service reported that suspect fly larvae were found on blueberries in Pope County, strawberries in Van Buren County and blackberries in Johnson County.

Tests must be completed to confirm what kind of larvae were found, the service said in a release.

Donn Johnson, a UA-Fayetteville entomologist, said growers need to check their crops and set fly traps to determine if and when they should begin spraying.

Instructions on how to build a trap and how to detect the larvae are available at the University of Arkansas Research and Extension Service website at comp.uark.


Latin America business session set

A presentation on doing business with Latin America, including a talk by Sean Kelley, director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center, will be held June 20 at the World Trade Center Arkansas in Rogers.

The presentation will give an overview of Latin America’s growth potential, free trade agreements and trade missions, according to a news release. The U.S. Export Assistance office provides trade counseling and services to small and medium-size businesses.

The event will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the World Trade Center Arkansas, 3300 Market St., Suite 400. A brown-bag lunch will be provided. Those interested in attending must RSVP by e-mail to

The World Trade Center Arkansas also will be the venue for a chance to meet and discuss issues with the District Export Council at the trade center offices between 5-6 p.m. There will be a briefing on coming trade events by the U.S. Department of Commerce, District Export Council and World Trade Center Arkansas. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Those interested in attending must RSVP via e-mail to

ASU to host business website workshop The Arkansas State University Small Business and Technology Development Center is offering a “website in a day” workshop for small businesses.

The workshop will teach business owners how to build easy-to-maintain websites with free online tools. The hands-on training will guide participants through creating a five-page website on provided laptops.

About 97 percent of Internet users look online for information about local services, yet at least half of all small businesses do not have websites, according to a news release.

Space is limited to 15 attendees, and registration is required. Information about registering is available at (870) 972-3517 or by e-mailing or visit

There is a fee of $50 per person, but discounts are available for Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Jonesboro Association members, and Arkansas State University staff members and students.

The workshop will be at the Delta Center for Economic Development in Jonesboro on June 27 from 9 a.m.

to 4 p.m.

Short-term T-bill interest rates steady

WASHINGTON - Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills were unchanged in Monday’s auction.

The Treasury Department auctioned $30 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.045 percent, unchanged from last week. Another $25 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 0.080 percent, also unchanged from last week.

The discount rates reflect that the bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,998.86 while a six-month bill sold for $9,995.96.

That would equal an annualized rate of 0.046 percent for the three-month bills and 0.081 percent for the six-month bills.

Separately, the Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, was unchanged at 0.14 percent last week, the same as the previous week.

JPMorgan credit-rating outlook falls

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s credit-rating outlook was revised to negative by Standard & Poor’s, which said Tuesday that the likelihood of “extraordinary” government support for the largest U.S. banks is waning.

The outlook on JPMorgan’s long-term rating of A was lowered from stable, S&P said in a statement. That puts JPMorgan in line with the seven other “systemically important” banks, including Bank of America Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., whose outlooks were held at negative. New York-based JPMorgan is the biggest U.S.

bank with $2.4 trillion in assets.

Business, Pages 28 on 06/12/2013

Print Headline: Business news in brief


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