Stocks finish flat after earnings reports
NFIB pushing small business bills
Thompson & Litton adds 10 stockholders
NEW YORK - Wall Street paused Thursday, with stocks little changed as strong profit reports from names like Apple Inc. and 3M Corp. failed to galvanize the market a day after the Dow Jones industrials crossed 13,000. Still, a modest advance in the Dow gave the blue chips another record close. Investors often tread water and reassess valuations after stocks push through technical or psychological barriers such as the Dow's ascent past 13,000 Wednesday. Beyond the Dow's move, investors were also keeping watch over the Standard & Poor's 500 index, which has in recent sessions crept closer to its high of 1,527.46, reached in March 2000. Better-than-expected profit news, which helped vault the Dow into record territory Wednesday and to a new trading high Thursday, continued but with less effect than in the previous session. The Dow rose 15.61, or 0.12 percent, to 13,105.50 after hitting a fresh trading high of 13,132.80. Thursday marked the Dow's 18th rise in the past 20 sessions and its 36th record close since the start of October. The gains Wednesday and Thursday left the Dow up more than 5 percent for the year. Broader indexes ended mixed Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 1.17, or 0.08 percent, to 1,494.25, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 6.57, or 0.26 percent, to 2,554.46. Bonds fell amid the continuation of strong earnings reports. The yield on the 10-year note rose to 4.69 percent from 4.65 percent late Wednesday. Gold fell on Thursday, while the dollar was mixed against other major currencies. Light sweet crude settled down 78 cents at $65.06 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Declining issues outpaced advancers by about 9 to 7 on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume totaled 3.14 billion shares, compared with 3.17 billion traded Wednesday.
KINGSPORT - The Tennessee branch of the National Federation of Independent Business is pushing for policies friendly to small business, including re-establishment of state compensation for collecting state sales taxes. State NFIB Director Gary Selvy during a visit to Kingsport for a "town meeting" on the CoverTN health insurance program for small business employees said it is only fair the vendors compensation halted in 1999-2000 be reinstated since revenues are up and Tennessee still pays out-of-state retailers to collect the Tennessee sales tax. The change would cost the state an estimated $14 million and would cap monthly payments at $25. In addition, Selvy expressed hope the General Assembly would adopt Gov. Phil Bredesen's executive order calling for regulatory flexibility for small businesses into law. Selvy also said Bredesen acted wisely in delaying the streamlined sales tax proposal set for July 1 by at least two years and predicted "baby steps" in medical malpractice tort reform and a general workplace smoking ban, with some exceptions carved out, would pass the General Assembly this year. For more information, visit www.nfib.com.
WISE - The shareholders of Thompson & Litton recently celebrated 51 years in business by announcing 10 additional stockholders. At the company's annual meeting March 13, shareholders authorized the sale of corporate stock to the 10. T&L's four managing principal owners are Ron Helton, president and chief executive officer; Jim Thompson, chairman; Bill Thompson, vice president of architecture; and Bill King, vice president of project management. The new stockholders are Steven D. Brooks, Ronald E. Heim, Gregory H. Hurst, Robert W. Massie, Tomothy A. Mullins, Jack Murphy, Patrick M. Murphy, Darrell K. Stapleton, Mark E. Swecker and Gregory D. Widener. The 10 represent 184 cumulative years of service with T&L and include engineering, architectural, administrative and financial employees. Thompson & Litton, an engineering, architectural, surveying and construction firm, was founded in Wise in 1956 and is still headquartered there. It also has offices in Wise, Radford, Tazewell and Clintwood, Va., and Bristol, Tenn. Current projects include Tazewell, Chatham and Deerfield correction facilities for Virginia, the Booth Center at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, the Western Virginia Regional Jail in Roanoke, the Great Lakes to Florida Highway Transportation Museum in Wytheville, the Bristol train station, and the Highlands Community Services facility in Abingdon.