NEW YORK - Wall Street ended an erratic session essentially flat Monday as investors grew anxious about upcoming first-quarter earnings and the possibility that interest rates won't be declining anytime soon. A $2 drop in oil prices lent support to the major indexes. With the market closed for Good Friday, traders had their first opportunity to react to Labor Department data that showed stronger-than-expected job growth in March. The numbers indicated the economy might be in better shape than previously thought, and helped offset concerns about a continued slowdown in the housing market. Takeover activity also provided some lift to the markets, with reports Dow Chemical Co. has been targeted by Middle Eastern investors and U.S. buyout firms in a deal that could be worth $50 billion. It would be the biggest leveraged buyout on the books. The Dow Jones industrials rose 8.94, or 0.07 percent, to 12,569.14. Broader stock indicators were mixed. The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up 0.85, or 0.06 percent, to 1,444.61, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 2.16, or 0.09 percent, to 2,469.18. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 1.71, or 0.21 percent, to 811.64. Bonds held steady from Friday's sell-off, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note at 4.75 percent. The dollar rose against other major currencies, while gold prices slipped. Oil prices continued their steep decline, with a barrel of light sweet crude settling down $2.77 to $61.51 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Declining issues barely outpaced advancers on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume came to 2.32 billion shares compared with 2.31 billion shares traded Thursday.
Baker Donelson praised for diversity
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JOHNSON CITY - Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC has been named among the "Top 100 Law Firms for Diversity" by MultiCultural Law, a magazine focused on diversity in the legal profession. This is the third consecutive year that Baker Donelson has been ranked among MultiCultural Law's top firms for diversity. The list is based on results of diversity surveys submitted by more than 200 law firms from across the nation. Baker Donelson launched its diversity program in 2002. Since then the firm has grown by 78 percent, while its minority attorney population has increased by almost 400 percent. For more information on MultiCultural Law magazine visit www.multiculturallaw.com.
IRS seeks Tennessee panel members
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NASHVILLE - The Internal Revenue Service is inviting civic-minded Tennesseans to help improve the nation's tax agency by applying to be members of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel. The panel provides a forum for citizens from each state to make suggestions regarding IRS decision making. The mission of the panel is to listen to taxpayers, identify taxpayers' issues, and make recommendations for improving IRS service and customer satisfaction. To qualify as a TAP member, applicants must be U.S. citizens and be able to commit 300 to 500 hours during the year to the panel. In addition, they must be current with their tax obligations and pass a criminal background check. To apply visit www.improveirs.org online or call (888)912-1227. Applications must be received no later than April 30.
Ramsey, Mumpower honored
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NASHVILLE - Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountvillle, and House Minority Leader Jason Mumpower, R-Bristol, have received "Legislator of the Year" Awards from the Tennessee Development District Association. The awards were made March 21 at the TDDA annual meeting in Nashville. "The awards are given on the basis of nominations from each of the nine development districts to those legislators who have shown leadership and put forth considerable effort on behalf of their cities and counties," said Susan Reid, executive director of the First Tennessee Development District based in Johnson City.
Kingsport Livestock Auction
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April 7. Steers, medium frame 1: 200-300 lbs., $75-122; 300-400 lbs., $90-136; 400-500 lbs., $75-130; 500-600 lbs., $65-114; 600-700 lbs., $80-112; 700-800 lbs., $90. Heifers, medium frame 1: 300-400 lbs., $80-110; 400-600 lbs., $85-109; 500-600 lbs., $80-106; 600-800 lbs., $67-94. Beef cows and calves: $560-950. Stock cows, $275-975. Stock bulls, $900. Baby calves, $50-205; Butcher bulls: 1,000-1,500, $51-54.50; 1,500 lbs. and up, $57-60.50. Sl cows breakers & boners: $40-42. Sl cows lean: $44-50. Low dress: $25-30; crips, $10-20.