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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

First Solar Reverses Loss, Posts 4Q Gain

February 27, 2013 10:04 am | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer | News | Comments

First Solar, Inc. on Tuesday posted net income of $154.2M for the fourth quarter, reversing a huge loss from a year earlier, but investors were disappointed by the company's sales in the quarter and the earnings outlook for this year. Last year the company lost $413M, or $4.78 per share, on revenue of $660.4M after it reduced the value of its solar system components division and booked other one-time charges.

Survey: U.S. Budget Impasse Holding Back Economy

February 26, 2013 10:32 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The political standoff over the U.S. budget is slowing the economy, more so than any hesitance by Americans to spend. That consensus emerges from the latest AP Economy Survey just as the budget impasse in Washington is about to trigger automatic cuts across the economy.

HP Parts With webOS In LG Electronics Deal

February 26, 2013 10:25 am | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Hewlett-Packard is selling its webOS software to South Korean electronics company LG Electronics, securing a new home for a technological orphan. The deal announced Monday rids HP of the centerpiece of its ill-fated, $1.8 billion purchase of Palm Inc. three years ago.


Survey: China Manufacturing At A 4-Month Low

February 25, 2013 10:14 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A survey shows China's manufacturing activity this month has declined to a four-month low in a reminder of possible threats to its shaky economic recovery. HSBC Corp. said Monday the preliminary version of its purchasing managers index for February fell to 50.4 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity expanding. That was down from January's 52.3.

Equipment Lease Finance Industry Confidence Up Again

February 22, 2013 2:06 pm | News | Comments

Overall, confidence in the equipment finance market is up for the third consecutive month at 58.7, an increase from the January index of 54.2, reflecting industry participants’ increasing optimism despite a wary eye on economic conditions and government management of fiscal policies.

United Technologies CEO Sees Sequester Impact

February 22, 2013 10:00 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The chief executive of United Technologies Corp. expects automatic federal budget cuts will take effect in eight days, taking a nick out of earnings of the aerospace giant. CEO Louis Chenevert told investor analysts Thursday that the cuts, which are known in Washington as the "sequester," look more likely. He says earnings would be reduced by 10 cents per share in the "worst case."

Volkswagen Earnings Up 40 Percent In 2012

February 22, 2013 9:57 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

German automaker Volkswagen AG says its net profit increased 41 percent for 2012 to €21.7 billion ($28.7 billion) on a 21 percent rise in revenues. Volkswagen said in a press release Friday ahead of its full-earnings next month that revenues were up to €192.7 billion. The number of vehicles delivered worldwide last year by the group topped 9 million for the first time, rising 12.2 percent to nearly 9.3 million.

Tesla 4Q Net Loss Widens On New Car Costs

February 21, 2013 4:25 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter net loss grew by 10 percent due to higher costs during the production start for the new Model S. The Palo Alto, Calif., company said in a letter to shareholders that it expects to be "slightly profitable" in the first quarter, excluding noncash option and warrant expenses.


Dell Earnings Fall 31 Percent In 4Q

February 20, 2013 1:35 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Dell Inc. on Tuesday posted another quarter of declining sales and profits, deepening a downturn that disenchanted shareholders and culminated in the slumping personal computer maker's recent decision to take its stock off Wall Street in a $24.4 billion deal.

Japan Posts Record $17.4B Trade Deficit

February 20, 2013 10:16 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Japan posted a record 1.63 trillion yen ($17.4 billion) trade deficit in January as rebounding exports lagged behind surging imports of crude oil and gas due to rising prices and the weakening yen. The provisional data released Wednesday show exports for the world's third-biggest economy rose 6.4 percent to 4.8 trillion yen ($51.2 billion) in January from a year earlier, the first year-on-year increase in eight months.

U.S. Wholesale Inflation Mild Despite Increase

February 20, 2013 10:07 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. wholesale prices rose only slightly in January after three straight declines, the latest sign that inflation is posing no threat. It means the Federal Reserve has room to keep interest rates at record lows without worrying about igniting inflation.

Analyst: GM Pickups To Hit Market At A Good Time

February 19, 2013 1:55 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

When General Motors' new full-size pickup trucks hit the U.S. market in late spring or early summer, the timing should be good, an auto industry analyst said Tuesday. Citi Investment Research analyst Itay Michaeli, in a note to investors, wrote that pickup sales in the next 12 to 18 months should outperform U.S. auto sales as a whole, and that's good news for the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

China Rejects Status As World's Biggest Trader

February 19, 2013 10:25 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

China has a new status its government doesn't want — world's biggest trader. Official Chinese and American trade data indicates China passed the United States last year in total imports and exports by a margin of $3.866 trillion to $3.822 trillion. That is about $44 billion, or just over 1 percent of China's total.


Budget Cut Warnings May Prove Harsher Than Reality

February 19, 2013 10:22 am | by Alan Fram, Associated Press | News | Comments

Get ready for two weeks of intensifying warnings about how crucial, popular government services are about to wither. Many of the threats could come true. President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans made no progress this past week in heading off $85 billion in budget-wide cuts that automatically start taking effect March 1.

HP's Headaches Likely To Vex Fiscal 1Q Results

February 19, 2013 10:17 am | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Investors will be hoping to avoid another shock when slumping personal computer and printer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. reports its latest quarterly result after the stock market closes Thursday. The results are expected to show the HP's revenue sinking from the previous year for the sixth consecutive quarter.

Eurozone Recession Deepens As Germany Falters

February 15, 2013 1:12 pm | by David Rising, Pan Pylas, Associated Press | News | Comments

It was only a matter of time. With many of its debt-ridden euro partners in recession, Germany could only swim against the tide for so long. Figures Thursday showed that output in Germany, Europe's largest economy, contracted by more than anticipated in the last three months of 2012. And it was the German drop that lay behind a deepening of the recession across the economy of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro.

Renault Earnings Slump In 2012 Despite Volvo Sale

February 15, 2013 1:12 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

French car maker Renault managed to shore up its cash position in 2012 even though it saw its profits crumble during the year in spite of a big one-off gain from the sale of its shares in Swedish truck maker AB Volvo. Renault said Thursday its net profit fell 15 percent to €1.77 billion ($2.39 billion) in 2012.

U.S. Factory Output Falls On Weak Auto Production

February 15, 2013 1:11 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. factories slowed production in January after two solid months of cranking out goods. The weakness mainly reflected a big drop in output at auto factories that is likely temporary. Manufacturing output fell 0.4 percent in January from December, the Federal Reserve said Friday. The decline followed increases of 1.1 percent in December and 1.7 percent in November.

Japan Economy Shrinks, Fueling Push For Weak Yen

February 15, 2013 12:52 pm | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Japan's economy shrank in the last three months of 2012, its third straight quarter of contraction, giving the government ammunition to defend its "weak yen" strategy as necessary to getting growth back on track. The 0.4 percent contraction in annualized terms in October-December was worse than expected.

Dow Board Oks $1.5B Stock Buyback

February 15, 2013 12:50 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Dow Chemical Co. announced stock buyback program Friday of as much as $1.5 billion. The Midland, Mich., company said the investment underscores its confidence in the ability to turn a profit, cash flow and growth potential. Shares of Dow Chemical Co. rose 11 cents to $32.60 in morning trading.

Lincoln Electric 4Q Profit Rises 7.5 Percent

February 15, 2013 12:48 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Welding equipment maker Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc. said on Friday that its net income rose 7.5 percent as higher prices helped offset a drop in volume. The company earned $62.1 million, or 74 cents per share, during the fourth quarter. That was up from $57.7 million, or 68 cents per share, during the same period a year earlier.

No Love For Apple, "Wedding Crashers" Vs. Google

February 15, 2013 12:00 pm | by Reuters | Videos | Comments

Not a lot of love for Apple right now - more hedgefunds are reporting that they've dumped their shares as Apple deals with another patent fight, this time with Brazil. Apple is requesting a review of the iPhone trademark while Google prepares to take center stage later this year.

TRW 4Q Profit Better Than Expected

February 15, 2013 11:58 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Auto parts maker TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. said on Friday that its fourth-quarter net income fell as vehicle production in Europe slowed and it absorbed higher pension expenses. But its adjusted earnings beat Wall Street expectations and its shares rose, briefly touching its highest level in more than two years.

Manufacturing Tech Orders See Best Year Since 1996

February 15, 2013 11:49 am | by AMT | News | Comments

December U.S. manufacturing technology orders totaled $499.43 million according to AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTO program, was up 17.8 percent from November but down 9.4 percent when compared with the total of $550.99 million reported for December 2011.

General Motors Posts $898M 4Q Net Profit

February 14, 2013 2:10 pm | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

General Motors made money in North America and Asia and lost a bundle in Europe as it nearly doubled last year's fourth-quarter profit. But the numbers were complicated by a dizzying array of accounting gains and losses for tax credits and devaluation of European assets.

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