Despite continued uncertainty about the prospects of both the U.S. and global economies, the majority of U.S. industrial manufacturers remain positive regarding the overall revenue outlook for the next 12 months, according to the Q3 2012 Manufacturing Barometer released today by PwC US.
Toyota has widened its global sales lead over General Motors after bouncing back from a series of natural disasters. The company said Friday it sold 7.4 million vehicles globally in the first nine months of this year — 450,000 more than General Motors. While Toyota's sales rose 28 percent in that period, GM's rose 2.5 percent, to 6.95 million cars and light-duty trucks.
The price of copper has dropped after unimpressive home sales and orders for long-lasting goods failed to ease questions about demand for the metal. Copper for December delivery dropped 1.75 cents Thursday to finish at $3.5505 per pound. It's the sixth consecutive day that the price has fallen for the metal used in everything from construction to consumer cookware.
Auto parts maker Dana Holding Corp. said Friday that its third-quarter net income sank by more than half, hurt by soft demand from North American commercial vehicle makers and South America. The company cut its full year guidance, citing expectations of further reductions in North American commercial vehicle production, along with weaker construction demand in Europe.
The U.S. economy grew at a slightly faster 2 percent annual rate from July through September, buoyed by more spending by consumers and the federal government. Growth accelerated from the 1.3 percent rate in the April-June quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday.
German automaker Volkswagen AG saw net profit rise 58 percent in the third quarter thanks to an accounting boost from its takeover of Porsche. Operating earnings excluding the merger effects fell, however, and the company cautioned about an uncertain economic environment for the rest of the year.
Ford pressed ahead Thursday with its plan to slash production in Europe, announcing another plant closure and 1,500 more job cuts, as it warned that annual losses in the region will exceed $1.5B this year and next. Ford is struggling in Europe, like many major carmakers, because there are too many plants, labor costs are relatively high, and demand for cars is sliding due to the economic crisis.
Hyundai Motor Co. suffered a fall in third-quarter profit from the previous quarter after strikes dented vehicle production, but its stock jumped Thursday after the carmaker said annual output would exceed forecasts. South Korea's largest automaker estimated that its global vehicle production in the final three months of this year would reach 1.2 million vehicles, including 540,000 vehicles at factories in South Korea.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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'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.
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 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 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. 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.