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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

U.S. Trade Deficit Grows To $42.2B In October

December 11, 2012 10:20 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

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.

U.S., EU Looking At World's Biggest Free Trade Pact

December 11, 2012 10:15 am | by Desmond Butler, The Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

ThyssenKrupp Takes $4.66B Hit In Americas Unit

December 11, 2012 10:13 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

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Maserati Confident In Italy Output Despite Turmoil

December 10, 2012 2:13 pm | by Colleen Barry, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

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 November Trade Weak In Challenge To Economy

December 10, 2012 2:11 pm | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

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 Issues Weak 2013 Earnings Outlook

December 10, 2012 2:08 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

U.S. Manufacturing Tech Orders Up 5.3 Pct. Over 2011

December 10, 2012 2:04 pm | News | Comments

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.

Obama, Boehner Talk 'Fiscal Cliff' Stalemate

December 10, 2012 10:15 am | by Anne Flaherty, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

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ISM: U.S. Manufacturing Continues Sideways

December 10, 2012 8:42 am | Articles | Comments

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

Hiring Holds Steady Despite Sandy, Fiscal Cliff

December 7, 2012 2:24 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

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 Shrinks To 3-Year Low

December 3, 2012 1:02 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

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.

Better Economy, Storm Delays Lift U.S. Auto Sales

December 3, 2012 12:57 pm | by Dee-Ann Durbin, Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers | News | Comments

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.

Chinese Industrial Upswing Cheers Markets

December 3, 2012 10:08 am | by Carlo Piovano, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

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Moderate Growth Likely Pending ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Compromise

November 30, 2012 2:41 pm | by The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation | Articles | Comments

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.

U.S. Economy Growth Better Than Expected

November 30, 2012 2:09 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

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 To Sell New iPads, iPhone 5 In China

November 30, 2012 2:04 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

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. Orders For Core Capital Goods Up 1.7 Percent

November 27, 2012 10:24 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

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 Logs 4th Straight Trade Deficit In October

November 21, 2012 10:09 am | by Malcolm Foster, Associated Press | News | Comments

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 4Q Net Income Misses Expectations

November 21, 2012 10:02 am | by Joshua Freed, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

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.

HP Says Acquired Company Lied About Finances

November 20, 2012 10:11 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

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."

2 Years After IPO, GM Is Piling Up Cash

November 19, 2012 10:17 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

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.

Get Intelligent About Emerging Markets

November 19, 2012 8:06 am | by Pete Read, Senior VP of Global Strategic Analysis & Advisory and Rahul Dhingra, Senior Consultant at GIA North America | Articles | Comments

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.

IMTS Boosts Manufacturing Technology Orders

November 16, 2012 8:30 am | Articles | Comments

“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 In Philly, New York Regions Shrinks

November 15, 2012 2:26 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

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.

New Ford COO Sees Profit Margin Pressure

November 15, 2012 2:20 pm | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

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.

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