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News in brief

January 21, 2021 at 1:51 a.m.

LR port logs drops in barges, tonnage

The Port of Little Rock barge activity and cargo tonnage fell more than 25% across its two docks on the Arkansas River in 2020.

Last year, the port worked 376 barges, a 27% decrease from the 376 it worked in 2019. Cargo tonnage handled fell 26%, to 570,000 tons from 792,000 tons, according to the latest port data.

Port officials say the Port of Little Rock finished 2020 on a strong note. In December, the port worked 47 barges, up from the 32 barges it worked in the same month a year earlier. Cargo tonnage also jumped, to 70,000 tons from 23,000 tons, over the same period.

Cargo tonnage handled on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, of the which the port is a part, totaled 9.4 million tons in 2020, up 25% from the previous year, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. More than a third of the total tonnage carried on the river was sand, gravel and rock.

-- Noel Oman

Conway, LR banks' earnings out today

Bank OZK of Little Rock and Home BancShares Inc. of Conway are scheduled to release fourth-quarter earnings today.

Home BancShares is scheduled to announce results this morning before the stock market opens. Bank management is scheduled to hold a conference call at 1 p.m. to discuss the report. Interested parties can dial in at 1-877-508-9586. A replay of the call will be available at 1-877-344-7529, passcode 10150658, and also can be accessed through the bank's website, homebancshares.com.

Bank OZK plans to release earnings today after the stocks market closes. Its conference call is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday and will be available at 1-844-818-5110. A recorded playback will be available for one week at 1-855-859-2056, passcode 7995612. The call also will be available at ir.ozk.com.

Bank OZK shares fell 56 cents, or 1.6, to close Wednesday at $34.62. Home BancShares rose 12 cents, or o.6%, to close at $21.30.

-- Andrew Moreau

USA Truck leads index's 8.11 jump

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Wednesday at 524.63, up 8.11.

"Optimism remains high with dampened volatility as equities were led by technology shares while financials lagged as banks continue to report quarterly results and forward earnings guidance," said Leon Lants, managing director at Stephens Inc.

Shares of USA Truck rose 6.4%. P.A.M. Transportation Services Inc. shares rose 5.1%. ArcBest Corp. shares rose 4.2%.

Murphy Oil Corp. shares fell 2.8%.

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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