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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

U.S. Economy Shrinks For First Time Since 2009

January 30, 2013 10:26 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. economy unexpectedly shrank from October through December for the first time since 2009, hurt by the biggest cut in defense spending in 40 years, fewer exports and sluggish growth in company stockpiles. The drop occurred despite stronger consumer spending and business investment.

Steve Helfer, General Manager, Clinkenbeard, Rockford, IL

Speed To Market 2013

January 30, 2013 8:00 am | by Steve Helfer, General Manager, Clinkenbeard, Rockford, IL | Articles | Comments

Challenges are ever increasing with global markets. Customers are expecting quicker response times on the solutions they seek. Companies are impacted by forces from all directions, but it all comes down to execution: if you don’t execute you will not win the market or launch the product. Execution is stopped by distractions from your core business and your business core processes; none of these distractions are new.

Harley-Davidson 4Q Profit Short Of Street Expectations

January 29, 2013 1:59 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Harley-Davidson's net income slid 33 percent in the fourth quarter compared with last year when the company booked a $51 million gain related to taxes. Net income figures fell just shy of Wall Street profit expectations, yet shares moved in and out of positive territory in premarket trading as the company outlined cost savings from a massive retooling at the iconic motorcycle maker.

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AK Steel 4Q Loss Widens, Still Beats Estimates

January 29, 2013 1:55 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

AK Steel fourth-quarter loss widened, stung by pension and tax charges and declining prices. Its adjusted results topped Wall Street's view. AK Steel produces flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products for a range of industries, including automotive, construction and infrastructure, manufacturing, and electricity.

Ford 2012 Profits Better Than Expected

January 29, 2013 10:25 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

Ford earned better-than-expected profits in 2012 as record results in North America trumped losses in Europe. It will have to do even better at home this year as the losses in Europe mount. The No. 2 U.S. automaker earned $5.7 billion for the year, or $1.42 per share.

U.S. Steel Shrinks 4Q Loss To $50M

January 29, 2013 10:13 am | by Joshua Freed, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

US Steel reported a smaller fourth-quarter loss as carmakers and other manufacturers used more steel, and it said shipments should rise in the current quarter. The steel industry has been buffeted by an inconsistent global economy. On Monday, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that overall orders for durable goods rose 4.6 percent in December. But a key gauge of business investment plans rose just 0.2 percent.

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Rise On Aircraft Orders

January 28, 2013 1:55 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. demand for long-lasting manufactured goods rose sharply in December on strong gains in volatile aircraft orders. But companies slowed their orders of goods that signal investment plans, indicating manufacturing could stay choppy in 2013. The Commerce Department said Monday that overall orders for durable goods increased 4.6 percent in December compared with November.

Toyota Sold Nearly 9.75M Vehicles Last Year

January 28, 2013 10:18 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Now it's official: Toyota is once again the world's top automaker. Toyota Motor Corp. released its tally for global vehicle sales for last year Monday at a record 9.748 million vehicles — a bigger number than the estimate it gave last month of about 9.7 million vehicles.

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Caterpillar 4Q Earnings Fall By Half

January 28, 2013 10:17 am | by Joshua Freed, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Caterpillar's fourth-quarter net income fell by half after it took a big charge for a deal in China that went bad, and because of slower growth in China and economic uncertainty in the U.S. and Europe. Still, its adjusted profit and revenue were better than analysts expected.

Exxon Surpasses Apple as World's Most Valuable Co.

January 25, 2013 12:23 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Exxon has once again surpassed Apple as the world's most valuable company after the iPhone and iPad maker saw its stock price falter. Apple Inc.'s stock has been on the decline since its earnings report earlier this week. It dropped 2 percent Friday to $441.30 for a market capitalization of $414.5 billion. Exxon Mobil Corp. gained 13 cents to $91.48 and has a market capitalization of $417 billion.

Hyundai Motor's 4Q Profit Dented By Won's Rise

January 25, 2013 12:18 pm | by Youkyung Lee, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. reported its lowest quarterly profit in nearly two years Thursday due to lackluster car sales at home and a surge in the local currency that made it less competitive with Japanese automakers. South Korea's largest automaker earned 1.89 trillion won ($1.77 billion) in the October-December quarter, down 5.5 percent over a year earlier.

Honeywell Returns To Profit

January 25, 2013 12:12 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Honeywell returned to a profit in its fourth quarter, helped by lower pension-related costs. Its adjusted results met analysts' estimates, and revenue topped Wall Street's expectations. Shares edged up in premarket trading Friday. The technology and manufacturing conglomerate from Morris Township, N.J., earned $251 million, or 32 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31.

Survey: China Manufacturing Hits 2-Year High

January 25, 2013 10:04 am | by Kelvin Chan, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

China's manufacturing crept higher in January to the fastest pace in two years, a survey showed Thursday, in another sign the world's second-biggest economy is coming out of a downturn. A preliminary version of HSBC's monthly purchasing managers' index rose for the fifth month in a row to 51.9 in January from 51.5 in December. Readings above 50 on the 100-point scale indicate an expansion.

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Bombardier: Embraer Sale Not A 'Blow' To Sale Outlook

January 25, 2013 10:03 am | by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press | News | Comments

Bombardier says it's not worried that rival Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer beat it to a contract with Republic Airways Holdings Inc. for the sale of 47 regional jets with an estimated value of US$2 billion. "It's not a blow," spokesman Marc Duchesne said Thursday, noting that Bombardier (TSX:BBSD.B) had previously received a firm order from Republic for 40 CSeries aircraft, with an option for 40 more.

Molex 2Q Profit Rises, But 3Q Outlook Disappoints

January 23, 2013 2:05 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Molex Inc., an electronic components and cables maker, said Wednesday that its fiscal second-quarter profit rose 10 percent on higher shipments. But orders fell later in the quarter, and the company posted an outlook for its third quarter that was slightly below analyst expectations.

iPhone Formula Needs A Shake-Up

January 23, 2013 12:49 pm | by Reuters | Videos | Comments

It's easy to forget just how amazing the Apple iPhone was when it made its market debut - it's the top product at the world's top company. But the iPhone formula needs a shake-up, before Apple loses the platform war to Google in price-sensitive emerging markets.

Can Apple Maintain Its Shine?

January 23, 2013 10:29 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

For many investors, Apple's best days are behind it. Competitors are catching up, they believe, and the latest iPhone is stumbling. The company's doubters have backed their conviction with billions of dollars. Last week, the stock fell below $500 for the first time in 11 months.

Google's 4Q Earnings Rise Despite Motorola Woes

January 23, 2013 10:24 am | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Google eked out slightly higher earnings in the fourth quarter, despite a financial drag caused by the Internet search leader's expansion into device manufacturing and a decline in digital ad prices as more people gaze into the smaller screens of smartphones.

Siemens Earnings Down 12 Percent In Its Q1

January 23, 2013 10:21 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Earnings at industrial conglomerate Siemens AG declined 12 percent in the October-December quarter after the company took charges at its transport business and a solar power operation it is selling. Siemens reported Wednesday net earnings of €1.21 billion ($1.6 billion) in its fiscal first quarter, down from €1.38 billion a year earlier.

DuPont Reports 4Q Earnings Dropped

January 22, 2013 10:22 am | by Randall Chase, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Chemical and bioscience company DuPont Co. says weakness in its performance chemicals and electronics and communications businesses, coupled with costs associated with growth initiatives, led to a sharp drop in fourth-quarter income. The company on Tuesday reported net income of $111 million, or 12 cents per share, for the last three months of 2012.

Packaging Corp. 4Q Profit Up, Outlook Wary

January 22, 2013 10:19 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Packaging Corp. of America's net income climbed 54 percent in its fourth quarter, buoyed by higher prices and sales as well as lower costs for recycled fiber and energy. But the producer of containerboard and corrugated packaging product issued an outlook for the current quarter that fell short of analyst estimates.

J&J 4Q Profit Jumps On Higher Sales, Lower Charges

January 22, 2013 10:15 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Higher sales helped Johnson & Johnson post a much bigger fourth-quarter profit than a year ago, when several charges depressed results. But J&J's long-running manufacturing quality problems continued to hurt sales of consumer health products, which were down 3.6 percent in the U.S. and 0.4 percent worldwide at a total of $3.65 billion.

Johnson Controls 1Q Profit Falls 17 Percent

January 21, 2013 2:37 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Johnson Controls saw its European operations hammered by the broad recession there and posted a 17 percent decline in net income for the first-quarter Friday. A weak outlook for the current quarter sent shares tumbling in premarket trading.

GE Earnings Rise On Emerging Market Growth

January 21, 2013 2:32 pm | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer | News | Comments

General Electric Co. has been re-energized. Performance at all of the conglomerate's industrial segments is improving thanks to cost cutting, a shift in strategy and growth in emerging markets. GE, based in Connecticut, reported an operating profit per share of 44 cents, a penny higher than analysts polled by FactSet expected.

Toyota Thai Vehicle Sales Reached Record In 2012

January 21, 2013 2:29 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Thai subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp. announced Monday that Thai automotive industry sales in 2012 totaled a record 1.43 million vehicles, up 80 percent from the previous year. The company said it expects industry sales to drop 16 percent to 1.2 million vehicles in 2013.

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