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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Congress Extends Wind, Biofuels Tax Credits

January 2, 2013 1:59 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The bill Congress approved Tuesday night providing tax relief for most taxpayers also helps wind energy and ethanol producers by extending tax credits designed to encourage continued development. States like Texas, the nation's leading wind energy producer, and Iowa, the leading ethanol maker, should benefit from the incentives.

Congress OKs Cliff Deal, Signaling Future Battles

January 2, 2013 10:21 am | by Alan Fram, Associated Press | News | Comments

Congress' excruciating, extraordinary New Year's Day approval of a compromise averting a prolonged tumble off the fiscal cliff hands President Barack Obama most of the tax boosts on the rich that he campaigned on. Passage also lays the groundwork for future battles between the two sides over federal spending and debt.

Latest 737 Max Order Takes Boeing Over 1K Booked

January 2, 2013 10:18 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Boeing Co. said on Wednesday that it has finalized an order for 60 of its planned 737 Max planes, pushing its total for the Max to more than 1,000. The deal, which Boeing said was finalized with leasing company Aviation Capital Group in late December, would be worth $6 billion at list prices. Steep discounts are common on large orders, however.

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China Manufacturing Strongest Since Mid-2011

January 2, 2013 10:17 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

China's manufacturing grew at its strongest rate in 18 months in December but new exports fell from the previous month due to weak global demand, a survey showed Monday. HSBC Corp. said its monthly purchasing managers' index rose to 51.1 percent on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show expansion. That was up from November's 50.5 and the strongest growth since May 2011.

MAPI: Sluggish Expansion To Continue

January 2, 2013 8:00 am | by MAPI | Articles | Comments

Weak overall economic growth persisted in the third quarter of 2012, increasing by 2.7 percent, and the sluggish pace characteristic of the current expansion is likely to continue, according to the quarterly Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation U.S. Industrial Outlook (EO-115), a report that analyzes 27 major industries.

Micron Reports $275M Loss In 1Q

December 21, 2012 1:50 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Boise-based memory chip maker Micron Technology Inc. has reported a $275 million loss in the company's first quarter — the sixth straight period of financial losses for the company. Company executives on Thursday attributed the loss during the first quarter of fiscal 2013 to declining sales volumes and prices.

Japan's Top 3 Automakers See Double-Digit Output Fall

December 21, 2012 9:55 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Japan's top three automakers saw double-digit falls in their auto production in China on the year in November, hit by flagging sales there amid strained relations between the two countries, their data showed Friday. Toyota Motor Corp.'s production in the country dropped 38.7 percent from a year earlier to 50,528 units, but the decline narrowed compared with last month's 61.1 percent fall.

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Up 0.7 Percent

December 21, 2012 9:53 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. companies boosted their orders in November for long-lasting manufactured goods that reflect investment plans. It was the second straight such increase, an encouraging sign for the economy. The Commerce Department said Friday that overall orders for durable goods rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent in November over October.

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ISM: Economic Recovery Will Continue

December 21, 2012 8:08 am | by ISM | Articles | Comments

Economic growth in the United States will continue in 2013, say the nation’s purchasing and supply management executives in their December 2012 Semiannual Economic Forecast. Expectations are for a continuation of the economic recovery that began in mid-2009, as indicated in the monthly ISM Report On Business®.

Federal Incentives For Wind Set To Expire Soon

December 20, 2012 2:05 pm | by Dirk Lammers, Associated Press | News | Comments

Wind energy advocates are pushing for the credit renewal. The American Wind Energy Association, quoting a study by Navigant Consulting, said a new U.S. manufacturing sector and 37,000 jobs could be lost by the first quarter of 2013 if Congress fails to act.

Moody's Puts Alcoa Ratings On Review For Downgrade

December 19, 2012 2:30 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Moody's Investor Service said Tuesday that it may downgrade Alcoa Inc. because of a nearly 22 percent drop in aluminum prices in the past year. That could put the company's credit ratings in junk territory. The ratings agency pegs Alcoa's senior unsecured rating at "Baa3," the lowest investment-grade rating. Its review affects about $8.6 billion of debt.

GM Shares Soar, Treasury To Sell Full Stake

December 19, 2012 2:29 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

GM shares jumped 9 percent in premarket trading on news that it will shed the stigma of being partly owned by the government within the next 15 months. The automaker will buy back 200 million shares of its stock from the U.S. Treasury for $27.50 apiece, or $5.5 billion. And the government, in turn, plans to sell its 300 million shares on the open market starting in January, and be completely removed by early 2014 or sooner.

Manufacturers Lead The Way To A Stronger Future

December 19, 2012 8:04 am | by Mark Hoper, Vice President of Expositions & Media, Fabricators & Manufacturers Association | Blogs | Comments

The FMA can’t predict how many conveyors are going to be sold in 2013, but we can talk about capital expenditures for the metal forming and fabricating machine tools used to produce equipment essential to the food industry. The good news is that investments are increasing across the board. That translates to more efficient production of the equipment that creates efficiencies for food production.

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Industrial Metals Fall On Drop In NY Manufacturing

December 18, 2012 1:56 pm | by Sandy Shore, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Industrial metals prices fell Monday after manufacturing slowed in the New York area this month, reflecting a sluggish trend across the nation. Copper, silver, platinum and palladium each fell less than 1 percent. The Federal Reserve's Empire State Manufacturing Survey found that general business conditions declined in December for a fifth consecutive month.

GT Advanced Shares Drop On Disappointing Outlook

December 18, 2012 1:54 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

GT Advanced Technologies Inc.'s shares sank Tuesday after the solar manufacturing company said tough market conditions will weigh heavily on its fourth-quarter and annual earnings. And next year doesn't look any better. The Nashua, N.H., company expects a loss of 5 to 10 cents per share on an adjusted basis for the quarter ending Dec. 31.

Apple Sells 2M iPhone 5s In China In First 3 Days

December 17, 2012 10:08 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Apple said Monday that it sold more than 2 million iPhone 5s in China in their first three days of availability, setting a record for that market. The iPhone 5, which launched in China on Friday, will be available in more than 100 countries by the end of December.

Forecast 2013: Manufacturing Market Outlook

December 17, 2012 8:06 am | by Abbigail Kriebs, Associate Editor, Industrial Distribution | Articles | Comments

There is a lot of buzz about the manufacturing industry and where it seems to be headed in the future. One source says that the skills gap is so great that growth is impossible. Another says that manufacturing’s comeback is not so very far off in the future.  Manufacturers wish they could just know the answers so they can make the decisions to drive their business into the next year and beyond.

Japan Survey Shows Business Sentiment Darkening

December 14, 2012 2:08 pm | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Japanese manufacturers are growing increasingly pessimistic, according to a survey released Friday that added to gloom over the economic outlook ahead of Sunday's parliamentary election. The Bank of Japan's "tankan" index for the December quarter slumped to minus 12 from minus 3 in the previous quarter, a result that was much worse than expected. A reading below zero means pessimistic views outnumber optimists.

Survey: China's Manufacturing At 14-Month High

December 14, 2012 2:01 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

China's manufacturing activity rose to a 14-month high in December, adding to signs the world's second-largest economy is recovering, but export orders weakened, a survey showed Friday. HSBC Corp. said the preliminary version of its monthly purchasing managers' index rose to 50.9 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 represent expanding activity. That was up from November's 50.5.

U.S. Manufacturing Output Rises In November

December 14, 2012 10:08 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. factories rebounded in November from Superstorm Sandy, boosting production of cars, equipment and appliances. The Federal Reserve said Friday that factory output increased 1.1 percent in November from October. That offset a 1 percent decline in the previous, which was blamed on the storm.

Volkswagen Group Reports Record Sales

December 14, 2012 10:03 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Volkswagen AG says group sales through the first 11 months of 2012 have already surpassed last year's record full-year result as deliveries outside western Europe more than offset declines in the debt-troubled region. Europe's largest automaker said Friday it sold 8.29 million vehicles from January through November, up 10.4 percent over the same period last year.

Weekly U.S. Jobless Aid Applications Drop To 343K

December 13, 2012 10:40 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply for a fourth straight week, a sign that the job market may be improving. The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell 29,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 343,000, the lowest in two months. It is the second-lowest total this year.

U.S. Economy Could Withstand Brief Fall Off 'Cliff'

December 12, 2012 2:33 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

It's the scenario that's been spooking employers and investors and slowing the U.S. economy: Congress and the White House fail to strike a budget deal by New Year's Day. Their stalemate triggers sharp tax increases and spending cuts. Those measures shrink consumer spending, stifle job growth, topple stock prices and push the economy off a "fiscal cliff" and into recession.

Fewer U.S. CEOs Expect Hiring Dip Over Next 6 Months

December 12, 2012 2:29 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A survey of U.S. chief executives shows the number of large companies that plan to add jobs or hire more workers is essentially unchanged versus three months ago, although fewer expect hiring to decrease. The Business Roundtable said Wednesday that 29 percent of its member CEOs plan to increase hiring over the next six months, the same as in September when the group released its previous quarterly survey.

JinkoSolar Shares Soar On South African Contract

December 12, 2012 2:21 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Shares of JinkoSolar jumped 21 percent Wednesday after the company received a contract from WBHO-Building Energy Ltd. to supply 81 megawatts of solar modules for a power project in South Africa. JinkoSolar will deliver a total of 344,540 photovoltaic solar panels for the project, which is expected to generate about 146 gigawatt hour of power equivalent.

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