A strong increase in auto output boosted U.S. factory production last month, the latest sign that manufacturing is helping drive economic growth after lagging for much of 2012. Factory output rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent in February from January, after falling 0.3 percent in the previous month, the Federal Reserve said Friday.
German automaker BMW says net profit increased 4.4 percent to €5.1 billion ($6.6 billion) in 2012 — hailing it as its "most successful year" — thanks to a big sales jump in Asia and a better market in the United States. The company, based in Munich, said Thursday that unit sales rose 31 percent in Asia, including a 40 percent rise in China excluding Hong Kong, and 14 percent in in the U.S.
Volkswagen's chief executive Martin Winterkorn said Thursday the company faces a challenging year particularly in Europe where many countries are in recession. Winterkorn told the company's annual news and analyst conference that "Volkswagen is feeling the headwinds — especially in Europe."
Recent trends suggest a reason for optimism for the U.S. economy and its manufacturing sector, according to the quarterly Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation U.S. Industrial Outlook (EO-121), a report that analyzes 27 major industries.
Chief executives at the largest U.S. companies are much more optimistic about their sales prospects than they were three months ago, though many remain cautious about hiring. The Business Roundtable said Wednesday that 72 percent of its members expect sales will increase in the next six months.
January U.S. manufacturing technology orders totaled $370.62 million according to AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTO program, was down 26.5 percent from December and down 12.2 percent when compared with the total of $422.33 million reported for January 2012.
The U.S. government has sold another chunk of its stake in General Motors Co. The Treasury Department says in its February report to Congress that it sold $489.9 million worth of GM common stock last month. The report dated Monday says the government has recovered about $29.8 billion of its $49.5 billion bailout of the Detroit automaker. That means taxpayers are still $19.7 billion in the hole.
Solar panel maker Suntech Power Holdings Co. has been given some breathing room to make note payments to certain bondholders after signing a forbearance agreement with them. If Suntech is unable to make payments due on the convertible notes on March 15, the bondholders have agreed not to exercise their rights under the notes until May 15.
China's auto sales accelerated in the first two months of this year, rising 19.5 percent over the same period of 2012 in a possible positive sign for an economic recovery. Automakers sold 2.8 million cars in January and February, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported Monday. Total sales, including trucks and buses, rose 14.7 percent to 3.4 million vehicles.
Canadian Solar said Monday that its fiscal fourth-quarter loss widened versus a year ago as solar module shipments dropped and operating expenses increased. Its shares fell more than 3 percent in premarket trading. The Canadian solar power company lost $105 million, or $2.43 per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. That compares with a loss of $59.9 million, or $1.39 per share, a year ago.
U.S. manufacturing continues its positive start to 2013. “The PMI is a little bit above my expectations but I try to stay away from expectations and try to focus on the data,” says Bradley J. Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Business Survey Committee.
A Sterne Agee analyst said auto sales have been strongly tied to the unemployment rate for years, and that makes February's drop in the jobless rate to 7.7 percent good news for automakers. Michael Ward said the unemployment rate has been an indicator of vehicle demand for the past 30 years, and the trend continues to hold up now.
China's exports surged more than expected in February in a possible sign of stronger global demand. Exports leaped 21.8 percent, well ahead of analysts' expectations of single-digit growth as companies shut down for the Lunar New Year holiday, data showed Friday.
The automatic sequester budget cuts are expected to slash $43 billion in defense spending over the next seven months - 8 percent of the Pentagon's budget. And, as CBS News' Ben Tracy reports, that will impact thousands of small businesses that work in the defense industry.
Toyota Motor Corp.'s Aqua hybrid hatchback remained Japan's best-selling car in February for the fifth straight month, selling 24,526 units, up 11.7 percent from a year earlier, industry bodies said Wednesday. Ranking second was the same maker's Prius hybrid hatchback with sales of 23,473 units, down 34.6 percent.
Stock futures rose Wednesday on strong jobs numbers and what is expected to be more evidence that businesses are ramping up orders to meet rising demand from their customers. The Dow rode a triple-digit gain into the history books this week and appears ready to do it again Wednesday.
Nissan Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. all announced Monday that their sales of new passenger cars in China in the first two months of the year fell from the same period last year. Toyota Motor Corp. on Friday announced a similar drop in sales in the reporting period.
Stratasys shares surged in early trading today and rival 3D Systems was also up. Recently public company ExOne shares rallied as well. 3D printing companies are up on some good sales but be careful when investing in this volatile, emerging industry.
Uncertainty over the outcome of a budget battle in Washington pushed world stock markets lower on Monday. President Barack Obama and his political opponents have failed so far to agree on a way to roll back automatic spending cuts that took effect Friday. Those cuts slash $85 billion from the nation's budget, which could slow down the economy.
A number of positive signs are starting to emerge regarding the U.S. economy, but there remain political and global headwinds that could slow growth, according to a new report. The MAPI Quarterly Economic Forecast predicts that inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) will expand by 1.8 percent in 2013 and by 2.8 percent in 2014, showing no change from MAPI’s November 2012 report.
U.S. manufacturing expanded in February at the fastest pace since June 2011, buoyed by increases in new orders and production. The third straight month of growth suggests factories may help the economy this year after slumping through most of 2012.
Tax increases. Rising gas prices. Political dysfunction in Washington. None of that kept Americans away from auto dealer showrooms in February as General Motors, Ford and other automakers posted strong sales gains. Industry analysts expect last month's sales to be up about 7 percent from a year earlier as pent-up demand and cheap financing kept the U.S. auto sales recovery powering along.
The weakest quarter for the U.S. economy in nearly two years may end up being a temporary lull. Economists think growth has begun to pick up on the strength of a sustained housing recovery and a better job market. The economy grew at an annual rate of just 0.1 percent from October from December, a government report Thursday showed.
Industry analysts and manufacturers were eagerly waiting Eaton’s 4Q reporting as the diversified international manufacturer showed the partial results of its $13.2B acquisition of Cooper Industries. Eaton CEO, Alexander M. “Sandy” Cutler, had warned analysts last quarter that the reporting would be “complex” because the results would show only one month’s (December) numbers of Cooper on its 4Q report.
Japanese manufacturing showed a faint sign of recovery in January, with factory production up 1 percent from the month before. Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Thursday that the figures, the second straight monthly increase, suggested the slump in output had "bottomed out."