News in brief

Walmart chief exec to lead Roundtable

Doug McMillon, Walmart Inc.'s president and chief executive officer, has been elected chairman of the Business Roundtable, a group of chief executives that lobbies policymakers in Washington, D.C.

McMillon will serve a two-year term starting Jan. 1 , the group said in a news release Thursday. He will succeed Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Dimon will remain on the Roundtable's board of directors.

The leader of the Bentonville retailer joined the Roundtable in 2014. He said in the release that the months ahead will see "extensive conversations about America's future and the role business plays in shaping it. As chairman, I commit to keeping Business Roundtable CEOs at the forefront of constructive public policy debates as we pursue an agenda of greater growth and opportunity for all Americans."

McMillon recently drew both accolades and criticism for the decision to phase out sales of handgun ammunition and for a request that customers not openly carry firearms in Walmart stores. The decision came after a gunman killed 22 people in an El Paso, Texas, store.

-- Serenah McKay

Ritter set to upgrade Internet in Harrison

Ritter Communications said Thursday that it is taking its XGS-PON high-speed Internet service to Harrison.

Based in Jonesboro, Ritter has been serving the Harrison area for more than 50 years.

"Our services bring a new meaning to a high-speed connection," Alan Morse, Ritter's president, said in a news release. "Ritter Communications is dedicated to offering business solutions to make Harrison businesses more competitive across the board and to position Harrison to better compete for new business." Morse, other Ritter officials and area leaders attended an announcement of the news at the L.E. "Gene" Durand Center in Harrison.

Ritter began as a local phone service in 1906 and has grown into a telecommunications firm, offering services to more than 45,000 customers across Arkansas, southeast Missouri and west Tennessee. Ritter is the largest privately held regional broadband fiber, telecom, video and data services provider in Arkansas.

-- Stephen Steed

Index down slightly, finishes at 434.05

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Thursday at 434.05, down 0.92.

"Equities opened higher but [fell] following reports of the possible escalation of Chinese tariffs as stocks closed relatively unchanged on the day in advance of the quadruple witch option and future expiration [today]," said Leon Lants, managing director at 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 09/20/2019

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