The report shows that the optimism this year has fallen from about 62 percent last year to 47 percent on the U.S. economy, and for the world economy, the rating took a bigger plunge. Last year, 50 percent of manufacturers were optimistic and now only 17 percent are.
U.S. manufacturing grew for the first time in four months, buoyed by a jump in new orders and more jobs. The increase is a hopeful sign that the economy may be improving after a weak stretch. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its index of factory activity rose to 51.5. That's up from 49.6 in August.
Nissan is offering cheap leases and big discounts on the Leaf because of slow U.S. sales of the all-electric car. Nissan Motor Co. sold only 4,228 Leafs this year through August, almost a third fewer than a year ago. It also has a big inventory of the cars nationwide. At the end of August it had enough 2012 models in stock to supply dealers for 114 days, according to Ward's AutoInfoBank.
Manufactured exports—a bright spot of the U.S. economy in recent years—are set to surge. Combined with jobs created as a result of reshoring, higher U.S. exports could add 2.5 million to 5 million jobs by the end of the decade, as manufacturers shift production from leading European countries and Japan to take advantage of substantially lower costs in the U.S., according to new research by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
The top-performing stock among automakers in the U.S. this quarter is General Motors. The company, which endured management upheaval during the quarter and announced that it would lose substantial cash in Europe, saw its shares rise almost 18 percent from July through late September. The gain was the best since the first quarter of this year, when the stock climbed about 23 percent. GM posted strong profits in that period.
Japan's manufacturing contracted further in August, dropping 1.3 percent from the previous month on weakening auto and electronics output, as anti-Japanese riots in China darkened an already bleak outlook for both economies. Data released Friday also showed core consumer prices, excluding food, continued to fall last month in another sign that Japan, the world's third-biggest economy, remains in the doldrums.
Shares of Research in Motion Ltd. popped Friday after the BlackBerry maker's results in its fiscal second quarter weren't quite as awful as investors had feared. But analysts cautioned that RIM is still struggling in the increasingly competitive mobile market. The Canadian company posted another large quarterly loss and its BlackBerry smartphone shipments shrunk 30 percent to 7.4 million in the quarter ended Sept. 1.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits plunged 26,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 359,000, a hopeful sign for the job market. It's the lowest level of weekly applications in nine weeks. The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined 4,500 to 374,000. That's the first drop in six weeks.
Sergio Marchionne thinks Europe's carmakers can only survive if they reduce their enormous overcapacity together, rather than retreating behind national borders to find piecemeal solutions. Marchionne wants the European Union to coordinate continent-wide restructuring because when individual countries get involved, they only save plants on their home turf and end up injecting money to prop up hometown companies.
China's biggest steelmaker has closed a mill in Shanghai due to lack of demand in a new sign of the country's economic malaise as companies and investors look for signs of a long-awaited rebound in growth. Baosteel Group said Thursday it was closing the facility in Shanghai's Luojing district to avoid mounting losses amid weak demand for steel plate.
Europe's carmakers could be forgiven for worrying that the slogan for this year's Paris Auto Show, "The Future, Now", is a threat of more hardship to come rather than a promise of prosperous times. Across the region, car sales are in their fifth straight year of decline and lots and factories are filling up with unsold cars.
Metals prices were tugged in opposite directions Tuesday by conflicting signals about the economy. Copper and platinum rose slightly. Palladium and silver, which can be traded as an industrial metal, fell. The price of oil, which often mirrors industrial metals, slipped to its lowest point in nearly two months in New York trading.
The mobile phones made by RIM hold the dominant market share in both Nigeria and South Africa, two of the biggest economies on the African continent. Now opening an office in Nigeria, RIM hopes to hold onto that African advantage as its sales in Western nations tumble, company officials say.
Robust U.S. economic indicators pushed world markets higher on Tuesday, offsetting uncertainty over Europe's debt problems and global growth. Consumer confidence in the U.S. jumped in September to its highest level since February, according to the Conference Board whose index rose to 70.3 points from 61.3 in August. Market expectations were for a more modest gain.
The world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment is lowering expectations for its profit in 2015 because of slower-than-expected growth in the global economy. Caterpillar Inc. had previously said it expected to earn $15 to $20 per share in 2015. It's now saying it expects to earn $12 to $18 per share on revenue of $80 billion to $100 billion.
Some buy American because they, as Americans themselves, think it’s simply the right thing to do. Some buy American because, to them, seeing the “Made in America” label means that they’re getting a superior product. Others, because they’ve heard the statistics outlining the importance of a strong manufacturing base in the U.S. Whatever the reason, I don’t think it can ever hurt to support an economy that makes such a difference.
General Motors says it has sold 2 million cars in China this year, reaching the milestone for the third straight year. The milestone sale came on Sept. 21, the earliest that GM has ever hit the number. GM says it reached 2 million in sales on Oct. 17 last year and on Nov. 4 in 2010.
Shares of steel companies fell Monday after an analyst lowered ratings on two manufacturers, citing higher steel prices that could make imports more attractive. During the third quarter, domestic hot-rolled coil steel products have been priced up to $108 per ton more than similar products sold in southern Europe. That suggests near-term declines in hot-rolled coil steel prices are likely, Citi Research analyst Brian Yu said.
The outlook for 2013 was reduced to 4.5 percent from 5.6 percent. The reason is a gloomier picture of the world economy. Figures for output and jobs in the U.S., the world's largest economy, have disappointed. Meanwhile economic indicators point to slower growth in the world's largest exporter, China.
Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region shrank for a fifth straight month in September, suggesting demand for American-made goods has weakened. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia says its index of regional manufacturing activity had a reading of -1.9 in September. That was slightly better than the August reading of -7.1 and a July reading of -12.9.
The Labor Department said Thursday that applications declined by 3,000 from the previous week, which was revised up. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose for the fifth straight week to 377,750, the highest level in nearly three months.
The U.S. current account trade deficit narrowed in the April-June period, pushed lower by an increase in American exports and cheaper oil imports. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that the deficit in the current account decreased 12.1 percent to $117.4 billion in the second quarter. That's down from a deficit of $133.6 billion in the January-March quarter, which had been the largest in three years.
Shares of electric car maker Tesla Motors jumped almost 6 percent Monday after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock. In a note sent Monday to investors, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas upgraded Tesla's stock rating to "overweight" from "underweight" and raised his target price from $45 to $50. He said investors shouldn't be worried about the slow ramp-up in production of Tesla's new Model S sedan.
Shares of automakers fell on Monday after Moody's Investors Service said that sluggish demand in Europe and weakening sales in China will hurt the growth prospects for the global auto industry. Moody's cut its prediction for 2013 sales of light vehicles to growth of 2.9 percent from a January prediction of 4.5 percent.
A new PwC US report reveals that while rising labor costs are part of the story, a range of factors—including transportation and energy costs and protecting the supply chain—could drive a sustained manufacturing renaissance in the U.S. beyond any cyclical recovery, potentially improving investment, employment, production output, and research & development.