News in brief – NWAOnline

Walmart unit reports 10% rise in earnings

Walmart Inc.’s unit in Mexico and Central America reported that profits rose 10% in the second quarter from the same period a year ago.

Walmart de Mexico y Centroamerica, also known as Walmex, posted net income of $459 million, or 2.6 cents per share, for the quarter that ended June 30, compared with $417.5 million, or 2.4 cents per share, in the same period last year. Total revenue grew 5.2% to $8.1 billion.

The company’s Mexican operations saw revenue climb 6.5%. Sales at stores open at least a year, considered a key indicator of a retailer’s health, rose 5.4% in the quarter.

Revenue in its Central American division grew 4.9% when adjusted for currency fluctuations. Same-store sales rose 1.7%.

Olga Gonzalez Aponte, Walmex’s chief financial officer, praised the company’s operations team in a conference call Thursday. “They’re focused on providing a seamless shopping experience while managing expenses and inventory in a disciplined way,” she said. “It is very exciting to see how our customers are responding to the improvements we’re making at our stores.”

Walmex opened 24 stores in Mexico during the second quarter, for a total of 2,470. It opened eight in Central America, bringing its store count in that region to 821.

The company’s shares, traded on the Mexican Stock Exchange, fell 1 cent to close Monday at $28.82.

— Serenah McKay

Simmons plans call to discuss 2Q results

Simmons First National Corp. expects to release its second-quarter earnings report before the market opens today, and it will host a conference call at 9 a.m. to discuss the report.

Those interested can listen to the call by dialing 1-866-298-7926 and asking for the Simmons First National Corp. conference call, conference ID 9976425. The call will be available live or in a recorded version at

The Pine Bluff-based Simmons had total assets of $16.1 billion as of March 31, with operations in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

Simmons shares fell less than 1% to close Monday at $23.22.

— Stephen Steed

State index closes with a loss of 0.69

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Monday at 424.90, down 0.69 points.

“Investors counting on lower interest rates and quarterly earnings results from Facebook, Alphabet and Amazon later this week, pushed stocks slightly higher on Monday as the S&P 500 climbed toward a record high,” said Chris Harkins, managing director at Raymond James & Associates in Little Rock.

Murphy Oil shares rose 2.46% as tensions rose in the Middle East, boosting oil prices.

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

Business on 07/23/2019