Biz briefs, April 20, 2007
Apr 19, 2007 at 9:24 AM
Stocks finish flat amid mixed data
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NEW YORK - Wall Street closed essentially flat Thursday after struggling to resume a modest upward trend while investors juggled upbeat economic data, divergent earnings reports and a pullback in Chinese stocks. Wall Street fell at the opening, then began to pare its losses after a research group said its barometer of future economic activity rose slightly in March, signaling modest growth in coming months. The Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators rose 0.1 percent, as expected, to 137.4 in March. The reading follows two straight months of declines. The Dow rose 4.79, or 0.04 percent, to 12,808.63 - its sixth straight gain. On Wednesday, the Dow reached fresh trading and closing highs, perhaps signaling a recovery from a late February pullback. Wednesday's trading high of 12,838.46 and that session's close broke records set Feb. 20. Broader market indicators dipped Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 1.77, or 0.12 percent, to 1,470.73, a day after the S&P hit a 6 1/2-year high. The Nasdaq composite index fell for the third straight session, slipping 5.15, or 0.21 percent, to 2,505.35. Declining issues outnumbered advancers by about 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume came to 2.94 billion shares compared with 2.93 billion shares traded Wednesday. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 5.06, or 0.61 percent, to 819.32.
Toastmasters to honor Eastman CEO
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KINGSPORT - Toastmaster International is hosting a conference today and Saturday at the MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center. The event will include a keynote address titled "From Good ... To Great ... To Simply Amazing" from Toastmasters International President Johnny Uy. Uy is the top officer of the world's leading nonprofit organization devoted to teaching public speaking skills and leadership. Brian Ferguson, chief executive officer of Eastman Chemical Co., will receive the Toastmasters Communication and Leadership Award from the District 63 Toastmasters organization, representing more than 93 clubs with members from Southwest Virginia to Nashville and parts of southern Kentucky. Ferguson was selected for the award based on his involvement in programs and activities that benefit the community. The event will include seven educational sessions and speaking competitions for prepared speeches and impromptu speaking. Registration is required. For more information about Toastmasters in the Kingsport area, contact Kathy Padgett at 276-5410 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vonderfecht, Stanton on Power 100 list
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JOHNSON CITY - Mountain States Health Alliance President and CEO Dennis Vonderfecht and East Tennessee State University President Paul Stanton have been named by Business TN magazine to its Power 100 list. It is the Nashville-based magazine's fourth annual list of the 100 most powerful people in Tennessee. Vonderfecht is No. 64 on the list, and the magazine notes that he is "head of the Johnson City-based not-for-profit hospital system â€¦ providing care across a 28-county area." The article noted that Vonderfecht is a past chairman of the Tennessee Hospital Association and is "heavily invested in numerous local civic organizations." Stanton's entry, at No. 43 on the Power 100 list, stated that he has "led ETSU, a major player in economic development throughout upper East Tennessee, through tough economic times while student enrollment was setting records." It also noted that Stanton "applied a business mind-set to great effect amid ever-shrinking higher ed resources, largely through forging public-private partnerships." The article noted that ETSU historically experiences the most private giving among Board of Regents schools, leading to new doctoral programs including "the recent College of Pharmacy."
NETWORKS Scorecard lists 81 new jobs
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BLOUNTVILLE - NETWORKS â€“ Sullivan Partnership's April Scorecard indicates the joint economic development group through April 17 has helped bring 81 new jobs and $2 million in capital investments to Sullivan County. The year's goals are 600 new employees and $45 million in capital investment. NETWORKS Chief Executive Officer Richard Venable said the numbers are slightly down from mid-April 2006 but should jump appreciably in the next 60 days. The number of committed employers has grown from two to three. All told, those in the "likely" and "committed" categories would represent 933 new jobs and more than $60.3 million in new investment, Venable said.