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News in brief

October 23, 2020 at 1:48 a.m.

Simmons to resume stock repurchasing

Simmons First National Corp. announced Thursday that it is resuming its stock repurchase program under an initiative that was first approved a year ago.

The buyback program, which was amended in March, authorizes the bank to repurchase up to $180 million of the company's Class A common stock.

Like many banks across the nation, Simmons suspended its buyback program during the covid-19 pandemic. As of Thursday, the bank has repurchased about $103.5 million in stock, leaving $76.5 million available under the program.

"The timing, pricing and amount of any repurchases under the program" will be determined by executive management at its discretion, the bank said Thursday.

The repurchase program is scheduled to end next October, and the bank noted that it is under no obligation to make any stock purchases.

Simmons First operates as Simmons Bank in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The company has assets of $21.4 billion.

-- Andrew Moreau

U.S. grant to pay for city-site access road

The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded a $2 million grant to help pay for construction of an access road in south Fayetteville.

City officials said the new stretch of road will support industrial expansion efforts, attract more business to the area and help protect it from flooding.

The road will open access to 47 city-owned acres that are currently inaccessible except on a gravel road that juts off South Industrial Drive.

Fayetteville set aside $500,000 in matching funds for the project, which is expected to create 35 jobs and spur $10 million in private investment.

"I am thrilled about this," Mayor Lioneld Jordan said Thursday afternoon at the site of the new road. "What a great day for Fayetteville."

Duke Technologies engineering firm is already interested in 5 of the acres for a new facility, said Devin Howland, Fayetteville's director of economic vitality.

The federal grant came from an allocated $1.2 billion in disaster supplemental funding for tornadoes and floods. The White River, located near the city's land, is prone to flooding.

-- Nathan Owens

Day ends in uptick for Arkansas Index

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Thursday at 440.26, up 5.70.

"Bullish sentiment was bolstered by remarks from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that stimulus discussions are "just about there" combined with improved unemployment and new home sale data as equities closed higher led by the energy and financials sectors," said Leon Lants, managing director at Stephens Inc.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

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