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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Japan Industrial Output, Core CPI Fall In August

September 28, 2012 1:56 pm | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Japan's manufacturing contracted further in August, dropping 1.3 percent from the previous month on weakening auto and electronics output, as anti-Japanese riots in China darkened an already bleak outlook for both economies. Data released Friday also showed core consumer prices, excluding food, continued to fall last month in another sign that Japan, the world's third-biggest economy, remains in the doldrums.

RIM Shares Pop As 2Q Not As Horrible As Feared

September 28, 2012 1:50 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Shares of Research in Motion Ltd. popped Friday after the BlackBerry maker's results in its fiscal second quarter weren't quite as awful as investors had feared. But analysts cautioned that RIM is still struggling in the increasingly competitive mobile market. The Canadian company posted another large quarterly loss and its BlackBerry smartphone shipments shrunk 30 percent to 7.4 million in the quarter ended Sept. 1.

U.S. Unemployment Aid Applications At 2-Month Low

September 28, 2012 1:49 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits plunged 26,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 359,000, a hopeful sign for the job market. It's the lowest level of weekly applications in nine weeks. The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined 4,500 to 374,000. That's the first drop in six weeks.

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Fiat CEO: Europe Car Problem Needs Europe Solution

September 27, 2012 2:04 pm | by Sarah DiLorenzo, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Sergio Marchionne thinks Europe's carmakers can only survive if they reduce their enormous overcapacity together, rather than retreating behind national borders to find piecemeal solutions. Marchionne wants the European Union to coordinate continent-wide restructuring because when individual countries get involved, they only save plants on their home turf and end up injecting money to prop up hometown companies.

China's Biggest Steelmaker Shuts Mill

September 27, 2012 2:00 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

China's biggest steelmaker has closed a mill in Shanghai due to lack of demand in a new sign of the country's economic malaise as companies and investors look for signs of a long-awaited rebound in growth. Baosteel Group said Thursday it was closing the facility in Shanghai's Luojing district to avoid mounting losses amid weak demand for steel plate.

Paris Auto Show Opening Amid Deep Gloom

September 26, 2012 2:15 pm | by Greg Keller, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Europe's carmakers could be forgiven for worrying that the slogan for this year's Paris Auto Show, "The Future, Now", is a threat of more hardship to come rather than a promise of prosperous times. Across the region, car sales are in their fifth straight year of decline and lots and factories are filling up with unsold cars.

Metals Prices Diverge In Hard-To-Read Economy

September 26, 2012 2:05 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Metals prices were tugged in opposite directions Tuesday by conflicting signals about the economy. Copper and platinum rose slightly. Palladium and silver, which can be traded as an industrial metal, fell. The price of oil, which often mirrors industrial metals, slipped to its lowest point in nearly two months in New York trading.

Troubled BlackBerry Maker Sees Africa Potential

September 25, 2012 2:08 pm | by Jon Gambrell, Associated Press | News | Comments

The mobile phones made by RIM hold the dominant market share in both Nigeria and South Africa, two of the biggest economies on the African continent. Now opening an office in Nigeria, RIM hopes to hold onto that African advantage as its sales in Western nations tumble, company officials say.

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U.S. Economic Data Help World Markets Recover

September 25, 2012 2:03 pm | by Carlo Piovano, Associated Press | News | Comments

Robust U.S. economic indicators pushed world markets higher on Tuesday, offsetting uncertainty over Europe's debt problems and global growth. Consumer confidence in the U.S. jumped in September to its highest level since February, according to the Conference Board whose index rose to 70.3 points from 61.3 in August. Market expectations were for a more modest gain.

Caterpillar Cuts 2015 Profit Outlook

September 25, 2012 1:59 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment is lowering expectations for its profit in 2015 because of slower-than-expected growth in the global economy. Caterpillar Inc. had previously said it expected to earn $15 to $20 per share in 2015. It's now saying it expects to earn $12 to $18 per share on revenue of $80 billion to $100 billion.

Sitting With America

September 25, 2012 8:13 am | by Rachel Leisemann Immel, Associate Editor, IMPO | Blogs | Comments

Some buy American because they, as Americans themselves, think it’s simply the right thing to do. Some buy American because, to them, seeing the “Made in America” label means that they’re getting a superior product. Others, because they’ve heard the statistics outlining the importance of a strong manufacturing base in the U.S. Whatever the reason, I don’t think it can ever hurt to support an economy that makes such a difference.

GM China Sales Hit 2 Million In 2012 So Far

September 24, 2012 2:15 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

General Motors says it has sold 2 million cars in China this year, reaching the milestone for the third straight year. The milestone sale came on Sept. 21, the earliest that GM has ever hit the number. GM says it reached 2 million in sales on Oct. 17 last year and on Nov. 4 in 2010.

Steel Producers Decline On Downgrades

September 24, 2012 2:05 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Shares of steel companies fell Monday after an analyst lowered ratings on two manufacturers, citing higher steel prices that could make imports more attractive. During the third quarter, domestic hot-rolled coil steel products have been priced up to $108 per ton more than similar products sold in southern Europe. That suggests near-term declines in hot-rolled coil steel prices are likely, Citi Research analyst Brian Yu said.

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WTO Cuts Outlook For Global Trade In 2012 And 2013

September 21, 2012 9:33 am | News | Comments

The outlook for 2013 was reduced to 4.5 percent from 5.6 percent. The reason is a gloomier picture of the world economy. Figures for output and jobs in the U.S., the world's largest economy, have disappointed. Meanwhile economic indicators point to slower growth in the world's largest exporter, China.

Manufacturing In Philly Area Shrinks For Fifth Month

September 20, 2012 1:45 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region shrank for a fifth straight month in September, suggesting demand for American-made goods has weakened. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia says its index of regional manufacturing activity had a reading of -1.9 in September. That was slightly better than the August reading of -7.1 and a July reading of -12.9.

U.S. Unemployment Claims Fell Last Week To 382K

September 20, 2012 1:36 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The Labor Department said Thursday that applications declined by 3,000 from the previous week, which was revised up. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose for the fifth straight week to 377,750, the highest level in nearly three months.

Broadest U.S. Trade Deficit Falls To $117.4B

September 18, 2012 2:11 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. current account trade deficit narrowed in the April-June period, pushed lower by an increase in American exports and cheaper oil imports. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that the deficit in the current account decreased 12.1 percent to $117.4 billion in the second quarter. That's down from a deficit of $133.6 billion in the January-March quarter, which had been the largest in three years.

Tesla Shares Jump After Morgan Stanley Upgrade

September 18, 2012 2:07 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Shares of electric car maker Tesla Motors jumped almost 6 percent Monday after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock. In a note sent Monday to investors, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas upgraded Tesla's stock rating to "overweight" from "underweight" and raised his target price from $45 to $50. He said investors shouldn't be worried about the slow ramp-up in production of Tesla's new Model S sedan.

Automakers Fall As Moody's Predicts Slow Growth

September 17, 2012 2:13 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Shares of automakers fell on Monday after Moody's Investors Service said that sluggish demand in Europe and weakening sales in China will hurt the growth prospects for the global auto industry. Moody's cut its prediction for 2013 sales of light vehicles to growth of 2.9 percent from a January prediction of 4.5 percent.

A Homecoming For U.S. Manufacturing?

September 17, 2012 8:16 am | by PwC | Articles | Comments

A new PwC US report reveals that while rising labor costs are part of the story, a range of factors—including transportation and energy costs and protecting the supply chain—could drive a sustained manufacturing renaissance in the U.S. beyond any cyclical recovery, potentially improving investment, employment, production output, and research & development.

Fed's Bold Plan Still Might Not Jolt Slow Economy

September 14, 2012 2:06 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, Paul Wiseman, AP Economics Writers | News | Comments

No sooner did the Federal Reserve unveil a bold plan Thursday to juice the U.S. economy than it dangled the prospect of doing even more. Investors celebrated by sending stock prices jumping. Economists were less impressed. Many wondered how much the Fed's action would help.

AK Steel Predicts A Loss For Its 3rd Quarter

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

AK Steel anticipates taking a loss in its third quarter as it contends with a lower average per-ton selling price and higher maintenance expense. The steel maker said Friday that it foresees a loss of 60 to 65 cents per share for the period. Removing a tax expense of 26 cents per share, the loss is between 34 and 39 cents per share.

State Tax Credits Help Frito-Lay Expand In CT

September 14, 2012 1:59 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Snack foods company Frito-Lay North America is receiving up to $4 million in tax credits to expand its manufacturing and distribution plant in Killingly. The company plans to spend $38 million for technology for material handling and delivery. State officials said Thursday that the improvements are expected to increase efficiency and improve delivery while also reducing the plant's environmental impact.

U.S. Industrial Production Fell 1.2 Percent

September 14, 2012 10:11 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. industrial production fell in August by the largest amount in more than three years as factories produced fewer cars and other manufactured goods and Hurricane Isaac triggered shutdowns along the Gulf Coast. Industrial production dropped 1.2 percent in August compared to July, the Federal Reserve said Friday. It was the biggest setback since a 1.7 percent decline in March 2009, when the country was in recession.

Shares In BAE, EADS Slide After Merger Talk

September 14, 2012 10:04 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Skeptical investors sent shares in aerospace and defense contractors BAE Systems and EADS down sharply Thursday, a day after the two companies announced they were in merger talks. Shares in British-based BAE were down as much as 9 percent in early trading in London, after gaining 10.6 percent on Wednesday after the news leaked.

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