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Stephens Group adds 3 key execs to staff

The Stephens Group of Little Rock has added three new leaders to help enhance investment opportunities, including in the areas of commercial and industrial products and services, food and consumer products, and software and tech-enabled services.

Mark Steenhoek joins the firm as vice president of operations. Evan Grisham has been hired as vice president, with a focus on Stephens' efforts in software and tech-enabled services. And Lewis Jones joins Stephens Group as an associate to support the firm's private-equity initiatives.

"We continue to invest in our people to support our firm's commitment to identifying the most compelling investment opportunities, while supporting our management partners with strong value-creating capabilities," Witt Stephens, chairman and chief executive officer, said Tuesday in a news release.

Stephens Group is a private investment firm that partners with management teams across the nation to help build valuable businesses. The firm has more than $1.5 billion invested since 2006.

-- Andrew Moreau

Southwest grounds 2 planes for cracks

DALLAS -- Southwest Airlines is grounding two Boeing jets after finding cracks in parts that connect wings to the fuselage.

A Southwest spokesman said Wednesday that the airline reported its findings to Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration, which didn't immediately comment.

The FAA ordered airlines to inspect Boeing 737s, starting with jets that have made at least 30,000 flights, after cracks were found in planes undergoing work in China.

Southwest spokesman Brian Parrish says crews found signs of cracking on two planes, and they will remain out of service until all issues are resolved.

The cracks are in a part called a pickle fork because of prongs that extend under the wings. Southwest has more than 700 planes, all Boeing 737s.

-- The Associated Press

13 stocks rise to lift state index by 4.93

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Wednesday at 424.10, up 4.93.

Thirteen index stocks rose. Dillard's Inc. shares rose 3.1% in light trading. Bank OZK shares rose 2.9%.

"Optimism at the outset of trade tariff negotiations with China drove equities higher, led by the information technology and energy sectors as volumes were lower due to the Yom Kippur holiday," said Leon Lants, managing director of Stephens Inc. in Little Rock.

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

Business on 10/10/2019

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