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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

United Technologies Approves Buyback Of 60M Shares

February 4, 2013 1:40 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

United Technologies may buy back up to 60 million of its shares, replacing an approximately $4.3 billion stock buyback program which began almost three years ago and is nearly spent. The industrial conglomerate said Monday that the new program's value is $5.4 billion at today's stock prices. It expects its repurchases to total about $1 billion this year, unchanged from a previous estimate.

Mitsubishi Electric Profit Down On Overcharging

February 4, 2013 10:03 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. said Monday its group net profit in the April to December period dropped 40.1 percent from a year earlier to 49.14 billion yen due in part to expenses for refunds it paid for overcharging the Defense Ministry and others on defense-related contracts. Mitsubishi Electric, one of Japan's leading defense contractors, said it booked refunds of 75.7 billion yen in nonoperating expenses.

Measure Of U.S. Manufacturing Jumps In December

February 1, 2013 1:49 pm | by Daniel Wagner, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

U.S. manufacturing activity grew at a faster pace in January, driven by an increase in new orders and more hiring at factories. The Institute for Supply Management said Friday that its index of manufacturing activity jumped to 53.1 in January from 50.2 in December. It was the highest reading since April, when the index hit 54.1. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

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U.S.-Based Automakers Report Big Sales Gains

February 1, 2013 1:48 pm | by Dee-Ann Durbin, Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers | News | Comments

Most of the big car companies are reporting double-digit gains for January as last year's momentum in U.S. auto sales continues into 2013. Sales at Toyota rose 27 percent and they jumped 22 percent at Ford. GM and Chrysler each reported 16 percent gains compared with a year earlier. It was Chrysler's best January in five years. But Volkswagen, which reported a 31 percent increase in 2012, saw sales slow a bit, growing only 7 percent.

Japan December Industrial Production Up 2.5 Percent

February 1, 2013 1:43 pm | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Japan's industrial production picked up pace in December from the month before, in a sign the world's third-largest economy may be stabilizing thanks to stronger global demand and government spending. Increased output of large passenger cars and vehicle components and machinery for making semiconductors were the main factors helping to drive the improvement in manufacturing, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

Harman To Cut Up To 1,000 Jobs

February 1, 2013 1:42 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Harman International Industries Inc. said Thursday it plans to cut about 1,000 jobs, or about 4 percent of its work force, to reduce operating expenses. The announcement came in the heels of fiscal second-quarter results that fell below Wall Street's expectations amid a slowdown in the automotive sector and economic challenges, especially in Europe.

Rare Good News For Eurozone Economy

February 1, 2013 10:37 am | by Pan Pylas, Associated Press | News | Comments

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 Says Sales Up 16 Percent In January

February 1, 2013 10:31 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

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.

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China Manufacturing Growth In January Weak

February 1, 2013 10:21 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

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.

How Has Manufacturing Fared In The Second Half?

February 1, 2013 8:00 am | by Rachel Leisemann Immel, Associate Editor, IMPO | Blogs | Comments

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.

Economy Is Thawing

January 31, 2013 11:44 am | by NBC News | Videos | Comments

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 Most Desirable American Muscle Car?

January 30, 2013 2:44 pm | by CNN Money | Videos | Comments

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.

Chrysler Profit Jumps On Higher Sales

January 30, 2013 1:45 pm | by Dee-Ann Durbin, Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers | News | Comments

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.

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Watchdog: Taxpayers May Lose $27B In Bailout

January 30, 2013 1:44 pm | by Marcy Gordon, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

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 Focuses On 787 Fix; 4Q Profit Tops Estimate

January 30, 2013 1:42 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

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.

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.

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.

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