The U.S. trade deficit increased in October because exports fell by a larger margin than imports, a sign that slower global growth could weigh on the U.S. economy. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that the trade deficit grew 4.8 percent in October from September to $42.2 billion. Exports dropped 3.6 percent to $180.5 billion. Sales of commercial aircraft, autos and farm products all declined.
After years of battling each other on trade issues, U.S. and European officials are contemplating a dramatic change in direction: joining together in what could be the world's largest free trade pact in an attempt to boost their struggling economies.
German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG says it is taking a €3.6 billion ($4.66 billion) hit on the value of its Steel Americas unit. The Essen-based company says the writedown follows a reassessment prompted by efforts to sell the unit's plants in the United States and Brazil.
The CEO of Italian luxury carmaker Maserati is confident that parent company Fiat's €1.2 billion ($1.5 billion) investment to boost production in Italy will bring results despite political instability that once again was endangering the country's financial health.
China's trade weakened sharply in November, adding to challenges for the world's second-largest economy as a gradual recovery takes shape. Export growth plunged to 2.9 percent over a year earlier from the previous month's 11.6 percent, customs data showed Monday. Imports were flat, down from October's 2.4 percent growth.
Honeywell International Inc. on Monday issued weaker-than-expected 2013 earnings guidance, predicting that the overall global economy will continue to grow slowly next year. The Morris Township, N.J.-based technology and manufacturing conglomerate said it expects to post a 2013 profit of $4.75 to $4.95 per share on $39 billion to $39.5 billion in revenue.
October U.S. manufacturing technology orders totaled $459.16 million according to AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTO program, was down 31.3 percent from September and down 0.1 percent when compared with the total of $459.41 million reported for October 2011.
President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met at the White House to discuss the "fiscal cliff," while rank-and-file Republicans stepped forward with what they called pragmatic ideas to break the stalemate. They agreed not to release details of their weekend conversation, but aides emphasized that the lines of communication remain open.
It appears that it’s more of the same in U.S. manufacturing. While the overall economy grew for the 42nd consecutive month, economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in November following two months of modest expansion, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.
U.S. hiring gains held steady in November despite disruptions from Superstorm Sandy and employers' concerns about impending tax increases from the year-end "fiscal cliff." Companies added 146,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent — the lowest in nearly four years — from 7.9 percent in October. The rate declined mainly because more people stopped looking for work and weren't counted as unemployed.
U.S. manufacturing shrank in November to its weakest level since July 2009, the first month after the Great Recession ended. Worries about automatic tax increases in the New Year cut demand for factory orders and manufacturing jobs. The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of manufacturing conditions fell to a reading of 49.5. That's down from 51.7 in October.
A better economy and extra demand after Superstorm Sandy lifted U.S. auto sales last month. Americans are willing to buy a new car or truck because they are more confident in the economy than they've been in a while: Home values are rising, hiring is up, and auto financing is readily available.
News that manufacturing activity in China, the world's second largest economy, grew for the first time in 13 months helped push global stocks higher on Monday. HSBC's Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 50.5 in November from October's 49.5 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 indicate activity is expanding.
Major issues still need to be addressed, but presuming the United States gets its fiscal house in some semblance of order, the U.S. economy could be in a transition from sluggish growth to a longer period of moderate growth, according to a new report from The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation.
The U.S. economy grew at a 2.7 percent annual rate from July through September, much faster than first thought. The strength is expected to fade in the final months of the year because of the impact of Superstorm Sandy and uncertainty about looming tax increases and government spending cuts.
Apple Inc. on Friday said its latest iPad models will go on sale in China on Dec. 7, followed by the iPhone 5 a week later. China is one of Apple's largest and fastest-growing markets. Analyst Brian White at Topeka Capital Markets said iPhone 5 is launching roughly when he expected it, but he hadn't expected the iPad mini and the fourth-generation, full-size iPad to go on sale in China this year.
U.S. companies in October increased their orders of machinery and equipment that signal investment plans by the largest amount in five months, a hopeful sign for future economic growth. Orders for core capital goods, considered a proxy for business investment, rose 1.7 percent in October, the best showing since a 2.3 percent rise in May, the Commerce Department said.
Japan logged its fourth straight monthly trade deficit in October as the European debt crisis and strained business ties with China over a territorial dispute reduced exports. The Ministry of Finance said Wednesday that imports exceeded exports by 549 billion yen ($6.7 billion), the biggest deficit for October since at least 1979, when the ministry began keeping comparable records.
Deere & Co., the world's largest maker of agricultural equipment, reported a bigger fourth-quarter profit as it sold more equipment at higher prices, but results still missed analyst expectations. Deere's revenue got a boost from a 4 percent increase in prices, although some of that gain was offset by unfavorable foreign currency exchange that hurt sales by 3 percent.
Hewlett-Packard Co. said that a British company it bought for $9.7 billion last year lied about its finances, resulting in a massive write-down of the value of the business. CEO Meg Whitman avoided calling it a fraud, but said Tuesday that there were "serious accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations at Autonomy Corporation PLC."
Two years after a wounded General Motors returned to the stock market, the symbol of American industrial might is thriving again. Sunday marks the anniversary of GM's initial public stock offering in November 2010. The company has made money for 11 straight quarters, piling up more than $16 billion in profits. Its cars and trucks are selling for good prices. And sales are strong in China.
Any entry into emerging markets is fraught with uncertainties. There are no guaranteed winners. Take Carrefour for example. After an unsuccessful attempt to enter Brazil and its focus on the hypermarket model even as consumers buy more goods locally and online, its share prices have fallen since 2009. On the other hand, Yum! Brands, the operator of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, seems to have beaten McDonald’s in conquering China.
“In the 17 years that this data has been collected, there is only one other month that broke $600 million. Both of those were in months that reflected sales from IMTS, showing its strength as the largest manufacturing event in the Americas,” said Douglas K. Woods, AMT President.
Manufacturing shrank in the Philadelphia and New York regions this month, reflecting damage from Superstorm Sandy that disrupted area factories. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its index of regional manufacturing activity declined to -10.7, a five-month low.
Ford said that a switch to smaller cars and an increase in incentives will narrow the profit margins in its core North American business. Mark Fields, who becomes chief operating officer on Dec. 1, said higher inventories will force some automakers to raise incentives, and that is likely to cut into what has been stable pricing for Ford.