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    Delivery date : Sunday, January 02, 2011 7:46:36 pmUsername : kstar72 :: (Log out)Your query : kristal kuykendallCharge for this story: $1.95Publication: Arkansas Democrat-GazettePage(s): BM10Section: BM10Original Date: 11/07/1999

    ENERGY Southwestern Energy hopes for gusher or two soonKRISTAL L. KUYKENDALL ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE*NW EDITION* Despite being downgraded by two analysts in the past 10 days, and despite negativeearnings results for the third quarter, things aren't really so bad at Southwestern Energy Co. inFayetteville.The company's turnaround is just taking a little longer than expected, analysts say.When Harold Korell Jr. took over as chief executive officer in early 1998, his mission was clear: Turn the tide fora company that had been suffering from low energy prices and sagging demand for its utility services.Korell reorganized Southwestern's exploration and production division, cutting costs drastically and improvingthe efficiency of searching for new wells. He also cut personnel and put his own, handpicked top managers inplace.Although 1998 ended with dismal results -- the company lost $30.6 million -- Korell called it Southwestern's"turnaround year" and predicted better times in 1999.He was partly right, or partly wrong, depending on how you look at it.For the first quarter of 1999, Southwestern reported earnings of $9.13 million, or 37 cents a share, up slightlyfrom the same period a year earlier. But for the second quarter, the company lost $1.7 million, or 7 cents ashare, about the same as the second quarter last year.The third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, also resulted in negative numbers: Southwestern lost $1.9 million, or 8cents a share, on revenue of $60.4 million. It's not unusual for energy companies to suffer minor losses in thesummer and reap profits in the winter, but the net loss in the third quarter is bigger than that of last year's thirdquarter, despite having more revenue this time.Southwestern has continued to strengthen its focus on exploration and production, and its recent $32 millionsale of a small Missouri gas utility unit will allow it to pay down debt, company officials said.The company also benefited from an increase in revenue from its utility systems, which Southwestern officialsattributed to cost cutting and customer growth. The utility unit's net income for the first nine months of 1999 was$10.8 million, up from $10 million the same time last year.However, the results on the production side of the business were lackluster, analysts said. They spurred at leastone of the recent downgradings."Until the company demonstrates it can increase its [production] volumes, there is not any urgency to increaseholdings," explained David Garcia, utility analyst for First Union Securities Inc. Garcia reduced his Southwesternrecommendation from "strong buy" to "buy" Monday.In the third quarter, gas and oil production was 8 billion cubic feet, down from 8.6 billion cubic feet in the sameperiod last year and about the same as the production volume for this year's second quarter. And theyear-to-date production total fell behind last year's figures.Garcia called the recent results "spongy" when compared with the company's previous expectations. But he isn'tdown on Southwestern, he noted."There's a long time element in getting an exploration-production program off the ground," Garcia said. "They'vedone a credible job thus far, and the moves they've been making have made a lot of sense."Analyst Louis Gagliardi of Houston, Texas, investment firm John S. Harold Inc. agrees."The verdict is still out on Southwestern," he said, "but they've got very good management. They likely just needa little more time."Graph: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/MATT JONES Energy fluctuations Slug Line: Energy 11/7This article was published on page BM10 of the Sunday, November 07, 1999 edition in the BM10section.

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    Delivery date : Sunday, January 02, 2011 7:27:11 pmUsername : kstar72 :: (Log out)Your query : kristal kuykendallCharge for this story: $1.95Publication: Arkansas Democrat-GazettePage(s): D1Section: D1Original Date: 04/28/2000

    StaffMark reports 70% decline in earningsKRISTAL L. KUYKENDALL ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTEFAYETTEVILLE -- StaffMark Inc. on Thursday reported a 70 percent drop in first-quarter earnings andsaid it will sell its Robert Walters finance-staffing unit to refocus on its Internet-solutions division.In addition, more changes are expected in the next few weeks that will bolster StaffMark's new strategy, thecompany said. StaffMark bought Robert Walters Plc, a London-based accounting and finance staffing firm, justtwo years ago.Though revenue for the period ended March 31 rose 5 percent to $294.3 million, StaffMark's earnings fell to $1.9million, or 7 cents a share, down from last year's $6.4 million, or 22 cents a share.StaffMark shares closed down 63 cents at $7.25 Thursday on the Nasdaq stock market.The poor results largely resulted from a slowdown in information-technology business due to year 2000computer issues, analysts said."We were supposed to see the first signs of business picking back up after [January] 2000, but it was still anugly quarter," said Matthew Roswell, an analyst for Legg Mason Wood Walker of Baltimore.Revenue at StaffMark's information-technology and professional segment, which includes Dallas-basedIntelliMark, fell 9 percent during the first quarter, the company said. However, revenue in the commercial staffingsegment grew 15 percent and jumped 47 percent at Edgewater Technology, StaffMark's Internet-services ande-solutions staffing unit.StaffMark Chairman Clete Brewer said the downward trend in the information-technology staffing industry isending, and "we remain cautiously optimistic that we will see growth in the second quarter."Analysts had predicted that after the freeze on computer work due to fears of the 2000 computer bug,information-technology business would pick back up strongly by March or April."But StaffMark is not alone in the Y2K hangover; overall there's been a very slow recovery in information-technology business, plus a market shift to more Internet-related skills as opposed to just traditional tech skills,"Roswell said. "Because of those things, just about every major information-technology company is havingdisappointing earnings in the first quarter."To keep up with that Internet market shift, StaffMark said it will se