Mention it quietly, but there were rare hopeful signs for Europe's struggling economy on Friday. Three pieces of economic news for the 17 European Union countries that use the euro were all slightly better than hoped — in sharp contrast to some of the grim days the eurozone has witnessed over the last three years of its crisis over too much debt.
Chrysler's U.S. sales jumped 16 percent last month as the company reported its best January in five years. The automaker said Friday that it sold nearly 118,000 cars and trucks last month, a sign that last year's momentum in U.S. auto sales is continuing into 2013. Industry analysts are predicting that Americans bought new vehicles at a strong pace last month, a bright spot in the economic recovery.
China's manufacturing activity expanded in January in a new sign of recovery for the world's second-largest economy but growth was weak, two surveys showed Friday. The government-sanctioned China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said its purchasing managers' index stood at 50.4 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 indicate an expansion.
Anyone who watched the Super Bowl last year likely caught a glimpse of Clint Eastwood proclaiming that it was “halftime in America.” The country had been knocked down: The housing bubble had burst and top U.S. automakers – employing thousands of American workers – had sought a government bailout.
The stock market is now back at pre-recession levels at a five-year high and unemployment is at a five-year low. CNBC's Jim Cramer talks about whether we're back on solid footing or looking at a short-lived bubble in this video from NBC's Today show.
The 1971 Hemi 'Cuda convertible was considered the most desirable - and most valuable - of all American muscle cars. Only 11 of them were produced that year. 'Cudas in good condition can be worth millions of dollars. After this 'Cuda was stolen and discovered in 2001, it was fully restored with original parts and painted 'Plum Crazy' color - take a look.
Just three years out of bankruptcy, Chrysler posted a $1.7B profit in 2012 and said it expects to earn more than $2B this year. Improving U.S. auto sales — and better products at Chrysler — were the big reasons for the vast improvement over 2011's profit of $183M. Chrysler sold 2.2 million cars and trucks worldwide last year, up 18 percent.
A government watchdog says U.S. taxpayers stand to lose $27 billion from the 2008 financial bailout, up from an estimate of $22 billion made in the fall. A report issued Wednesday by the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program says the estimate is higher because of increased losses for the Treasury Department on sales of shares in bailed-out companies.
Boeing Co. said Wednesday that its top priority this year is fixing the battery problems that grounded its 787. The company made the pledge while reporting a fourth-quarter profit that topped Wall Street estimates, as rising profits from commercial jets offset a smaller profit from defense work.
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.
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'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.
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 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.
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. 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.