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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Bailout, Layoffs: New Pain Ahead For EU Carmakers

October 24, 2012 2:28 pm | by Lori Hinnant, Associated Press | News | Comments

The extent of the European car industry's troubles was laid bare when France's government tossed a financial lifeline to the continent's No. 2 automaker, Peugeot Citroen, and Ford said it would shut a Belgium plant, cutting 9,500 jobs. Experts say France's $9.1 billion bailout, a three-year loan guarantee, represents a desperate attempt to avoid the sort of layoffs that companies like Ford are slowly accepting as inevitable.

GE CEO: Economic Trends Still Mostly Positive

October 24, 2012 2:25 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt says overall economic trends continue to be positive, but business is volatile in the aftermath of the recession. Immelt appeared on CNBC Wednesday in a joint interview carried live with investor Warren Buffett.

Ford Closes Belgian Plant In 2014; 9,500 Jobs Hit

October 24, 2012 10:31 am | by Raf Casert, Associated Press | News | Comments

Ford will close a car plant in Belgium — one of its main European factories — by the end of 2014, a move that will result in 4,500 direct job losses and 5,000 more among subcontractors. Half a century after construction on the Genk plant started, Ford told a management council there that production was winding down since slumping European sales has forced a restructuring of its plants.

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Survey Shows China's Manufacturing Improving

October 24, 2012 10:29 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

China's manufacturing improved this month, adding to signs a recovery might be taking shape after a sharp slump in the world's No. 2 economy. A preliminary version of HSBC's monthly purchasing managers' index rose to a three-month high of 49.1 points on a 100-point scale, the bank said Wednesday.

AK Steel Shares Fall On Wider 3Q Loss

October 23, 2012 2:19 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

AK Steel Holding Corp. said Tuesday that its third-quarter loss widened to $60.9 million, as steel prices dropped. The results fell significantly short of Wall Street predictions and AK Steel shares tumbled in morning trading. The West Chester, Ohio-based company's loss amounted to 55 cents per share compared with a loss of $3.5 million, or 3 cents per share, a year ago.

DuPont To Cut 1,500 Jobs After 3Q Profit Slides

October 23, 2012 11:39 am | by Randall Chase, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Chemical maker the DuPont Co. will cut 1,500 jobs and take other steps to increase competitiveness after a third quarter in which earnings fell sharply. The company reported net income of $10 million Tuesday, or a penny per share, compared with $452 million, or 48 cents per share, for the same period last year. Excluding one-time items, DuPont earned 44 cents per share, compared with 69 cents per share for last year's third quarter.

Harley-Davidson 3Q Profit Falls 27 Percent

October 23, 2012 11:37 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Harley-Davidson Inc. said Tuesday that its third-quarter net income fell 27 percent as motorcycle shipments slowed because of the start of a new production system at the company's biggest assembly plant. The Milwaukee-based company said it made $134 million, or 59 cents per share, during the quarter.

Analyst Cuts GE Rating On Slowing Order Growth

October 22, 2012 1:58 pm | News | Comments

Shares of General Electric Co. fell more than 3 percent Monday as an analyst lowered his rating on the industrial company on slowing order growth. GE reported on Friday that its infrastructure orders declined 5 percent in the period. The company posted a 1 percent drop-off in the second quarter.

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Caterpillar Cuts 2012 Guidance On Weak Economy

October 22, 2012 9:25 am | by Joshua Freed, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Caterpillar Inc. cut its profit and revenue guidance on Monday, saying the world's economic conditions "are weaker than we had previously expected." The Peoria, Ill., company is the world's largest construction and mining equipment maker, so its results are watched closely as a sign of where the broader economy is headed.

U.S. Unemployment Aid Applications Jump To 388K

October 19, 2012 2:21 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped 46,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, the highest in four months. The increase marks a rebound from the previous week's sharp drop. Both swings were largely due to technical factors. A department spokesman said the last two weeks' figures were distorted by seasonal adjustments the department makes.

Google Delivers 3Q Letdown Early, Stock Plummets

October 19, 2012 10:16 am | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Google hit Wall Street with a double whammy Thursday. The Internet search leader that prides itself on organizing the world's information lost control of its own data when a contractor released its 3Q earnings report more than three hours before the numbers were supposed to come out.

Analyst Sees Benefits To Johnson Controls Deal

October 17, 2012 2:25 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

An analyst says that Johnson Controls' agreement to buy battery maker A123 Systems' automotive assets is a good strategic fit and gives it access to new lithium ion battery technology. On Tuesday A123 Systems Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection. Johnson Controls Inc., an auto parts and building equipment maker, plans to keep A123 plants open and sell the company's lithium-ion battery technology.

Stanley Black & Decker 3Q Profit Falls On Charges

October 17, 2012 10:20 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Stanley Black & Decker's third-quarter net income fell 26 percent, pulled down by charges, and the tool maker lowered its full-year earnings forecast, partly because of lower volumes and increased investments. Its adjusted earnings for the latest quarter and its forecast for 2012 were below Wall Street estimates.

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U.S. Economy Hopes Buoy Markets

October 16, 2012 2:39 pm | by Pan Pylas, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Mounting hopes over the U.S. economic recovery bolstered markets for a second day on Tuesday and helped push the euro back above $1.30. A run of upbeat figures about the U.S. economy, including the labor market, have cheered investors this week. Tuesday's indicators sustained the positive tone.

WD-40's Fiscal 4Q Profit Below Expectations

October 16, 2012 2:32 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

WD-40 Co. said its fiscal fourth-quarter profit dropped 11.9 percent because sales in Europe slipped as customers delayed buying its lubricant and cleaning products. WD-40 makes its namesake spray lubricant, along with related cleaning products. It earned almost $9M, or 56 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Aug. 31.

U.S. Industrial Output Rises But Factories Stay Weak

October 16, 2012 10:27 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. industrial production increased only modestly in September, held back by weak growth in factory output. The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that output at factories, mines and utilities rose 0.4 percent in September. That followed a 1.4 percent decline in August.

U.S. Business Stockpiles Grew 0.6 Percent In August

October 15, 2012 2:32 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. companies restocked their shelves at a solid pace in August while sales rose for a second straight month. The combination of higher stockpiles and increased sales should help to boost economic growth. Business inventories grew 0.6 percent in August following a July gain of 0.8 percent that had been the strongest since January, the Commerce Department said.

Bernanke: Fed Policies To Help Emerging Markets

October 15, 2012 10:09 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Chairman Ben Bernanke is rejecting arguments that the Federal Reserve's bold moves to bolster U.S. job growth could have unwanted consequences in emerging market countries. In a speech Sunday, Bernanke disagreed with criticism that the Fed's efforts to drive U.S. interest rates lower could result in higher inflation in emerging markets or trigger a destabilizing flood of investment money into those nations.

China's Imports Weak In Negative Sign For Recovery

October 15, 2012 10:08 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

China's import growth recovered slightly in September but was weak, suggesting that a recovery for the world's second-largest economy from a painful slump has yet to take hold. Imports rose 2.4 percent, an improvement over August's unexpected 2.6 percent contraction but well below the government's 10 percent target for overall trade growth this year, customs data showed Saturday.

Report: PCs Bound For 1st Sales Decline Since 2001

October 12, 2012 2:31 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A new report predicts worldwide sales of personal computers are bound for their first annual decline in 11 years. The forecast issued Wednesday by the research firm IHS iSuppli projects that nearly 349 million PCs will be shipped this year. That would be a 1 percent decrease from nearly 353 million PC shipments last year.

Rio Tinto Looks To Cut Costs In Tough Global Market

October 12, 2012 2:28 pm | by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press | News | Comments

Aluminum giant Rio Tinto Alcan is studying options, including whether to seek the reopening of collective agreements, as it moves to reduce costs over the next 12 to 18 months to offset the challenges of a tough global market. The Montreal-based aluminum division has provided cost reduction targets to each of its facilities around the world, but won't release them publicly.

KMG Chemicals 4Q Net Income More Than Triples

October 12, 2012 2:24 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

KMG Chemicals' fiscal fourth-quarter net income more than tripled, as it lowered expenses and saw sales strengthen in its electronic chemical division. The Houston company earned $3.9 million, or 33 cents per share, for the three months ended in July 31. That's up sharply from $1.2 million, or 10 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.

India Industrial Output Rose 2.7 Percent In August

October 12, 2012 2:22 pm | by Erika Kinetz, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Industrial production in India rose 2.7 percent in August, more than expected on a rebound in mining activity, though investment still appears weak. Markets took the news in stride Friday, suggesting that investors believe the numbers will do little to convince the central back to cut interest rates when it meets later this month.

Southern Auto Industry Wary Of Mexican Competition

October 12, 2012 10:14 am | by Erik Schelzig, Associated Press | News | Comments

Southern states accustomed to luring investments away from the Midwest are casting a wary eye to competition from Mexico. Gov. Haslam was asked at the Southern Automotive Conference about what steps are being taken to keep investments from moving abroad, especially in light of a decision by German automaker Audi to build its first North American plant in Mexico.

Solar Panel Makers Gain On Trade Ruling

October 12, 2012 10:12 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Shares of solar panel makers reacted on Thursday after the Obama administration upheld tariffs on Chinese solar panels. The U.S. government said China has subsidized companies that are flooding the U.S. with low-cost panels. In response the U.S. imposed tariffs ranging from 18 percent to nearly 250 percent.

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