First Federal Shares Up 55 Percent in First Quarter

First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas Inc., the publicly traded holding company for First Federal Bank of Harrison, saw its stock price improve by almost 55 percent during the first quarter.

The stock (Nasdaq: FFBH) closed at $6.82 on Friday, up from its Jan. 2 opening price of $4.41. The company, hit hard by loan losses in northwest Arkansas, was recapitalized last year and is now under the leadership of CEO Dabbs Cavin.

It was the biggest winner among Arkansas stocks during the first quarter of trading, which ended with the closing bell on Friday afternoon. But it wasn't alone. Dillard's Inc. of Little Rock closed at $63.02, an increase of more than 37 percent since the first trading day of the year.

Stock in J.B. Hunt Transport Services of Lowell has gained 17.7 percent in value during the quarter, and three other companies also enjoyed double-digit gains: P.A.M. Transportation Services of Tontitown (16.2 percent), Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock (15.4 percent) and America's Car-Mart of Bentonville (11.2 percent).

Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale had the roughest quarter in terms of its stock price, which closed at $19.16 on Friday, down 8.3 percent from the January open.

Here's how other Arkansas stocks performed in the first quarter:

  • Bank of the Ozarks Inc. of Little Rock, up 2.93 percent;
  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, up 2 percent;
  • Deltic Timber Corp. of El Dorado, up 1.3 percent;
  • Home Bancshares Inc. of Conway, up 0.8 percent;
  • USA Truck Inc., up 0.1 percent;
  • Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado, down 1.9 percent;
  • Windstream Corp. of Little Rock, down 2.2 percent;
  • Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith, down 5.7 percent;
  • Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff, down 7.6 percent; and
  • Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies Inc. of Springdale, unchanged and still trading at about 7 cents a share.