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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

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.

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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.

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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.

A Manufacturing Opportunity

September 12, 2012 5:30 pm | Articles | Comments

In the past decade, America has lost 6 million manufacturing jobs; yet today, 600,000 jobs can’t be filled in America because manufacturers can’t find people with the right skills. When Americans are asked how they would create a thousand new jobs in their communities with a new business facility, manufacturing is their first choice.

U.S. Wholesale Stockpiles Up In July, Sales Fell

September 12, 2012 2:18 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. wholesalers increased their stockpiles in July from June, but sales fell for a third straight month. Declining sales could force companies to cut inventories in coming months, a troubling sign that economic growth could weaken. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that wholesale stockpiles grew 0.7 percent in July, the biggest increase in five months.

Trina Solar To Cut Costs, Jobs

September 12, 2012 2:13 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Trina Solar Ltd. said Tuesday that it is cutting an undisclosed number of jobs as part of a broader cost-saving initiative. The Chinese solar panel maker said that in order to overcome increasingly intense competition, it will cut jobs, reduce its operating expenses and separate two of its business lines into their own units.

China's Imports Shrink In Sign That The Downturn Is Worsening

September 10, 2012 10:50 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Imports declined 2.6 percent from a year earlier, below analysts' expectations of growth in low single digits, data showed Monday. That came on top of August's decline in factory output to a three-year low and other signs growth is still decelerating despite repeated stimulus efforts.

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ISM: Manufacturing Activity Contracts Again

September 10, 2012 8:07 am | by Mike Schmidt. Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology | Articles | Comments

It’s been a tough few months for U.S. manufacturing, and it could be more of the same for at least the rest of 2012. While overall economy grew for the 39th consecutive month in August, economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in August for the third time since July 2009, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

Carmaker Peugeot Pushed Off France's CAC-40 Index

September 7, 2012 2:16 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Paris bourse will drop PSA Peugeot Citroen from its CAC-40 index of leading French companies after a dismal year for the carmaker, the exchange operator said. It's a major blow for the company, which has been a part of the index since it was created in 1987, and is an iconic brand in France.

Smith & Wesson Soars As Earnings Beat Wall St.

September 7, 2012 2:11 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Smith & Wesson shares jumped more than 19 percent in after-hours trading as the gun maker posted record quarterly earnings and said it expected more to come. Smith & Wesson expects earnings during the fiscal year ending next April in the range of 85 to 90 cents per share with revenue of $530 million to $540 million, or nearly one-third higher than the previous year.

U.S. Economy Adds 96K Jobs, Rate Falls To 8.1 Percent

September 7, 2012 10:07 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. employers added 96,000 jobs last month, a weak figure that could slow the momentum President Barack Obama hoped to gain from his speech Thursday night to the Democratic National Convention. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July. But that was only because more people gave up looking for work. People who are out of work are counted as unemployed only if they're looking for a job.

Small, Medium-Sized Manufacturers Project Strong Second Half 2012

September 7, 2012 9:39 am | by Prime Advantage | Articles | Comments

Prime Advantage has announced the findings of its tenth semi-annual Group Outlook Survey, revealing projections and top concerns of its member companies for the second half of 2012. The majority of surveyed manufacturers report healthy revenue projections, strong hiring, and capital spending plans. However, for a small portion of respondents these plans may see delays due to uncertainty about the results of the federal elections.

Investors Cautious Ahead Of ECB Meeting

September 5, 2012 2:04 pm | by Carlo Piovano, Associated Press | News | Comments

Global markets fluctuated Wednesday as investors weighed poor economic data against expectations that the European Central Bank will announce a plan to support financially weak countries in the 17-member eurozone. ECB President Mario Draghi is expected to reveal on Thursday the details of a new bond-buying program intended to bring down the high borrowing costs of Spain and Italy.

Global Manufacturing Weakness Hurts U.S. Factories

September 5, 2012 10:30 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Manufacturing is weakening around the globe, a trend that is weighing on U.S. growth just as the presidential campaign enters its final stretch. U.S. factory activity shrank for a third straight month in August, according to a survey by the Institute for Supply Management released Tuesday.

Gadget Makers Jockey For Edge In Holiday Lineups

September 4, 2012 2:15 pm | by Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Think of it as the opening act at a concert: Nokia, Motorola and Amazon are expected to unveil new mobile devices this week before attention turns to a new iPhone and possibly a smaller iPad from Apple. Makers of consumer electronics are refreshing their products for the holiday shopping season.

Survey: U.S. Manufacturing Shrinks For Third Month

September 4, 2012 2:12 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. factory activity shrank for the third straight month in August as new orders, production and employment all fell. The report adds to other signs that manufacturing is struggling around the globe. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Tuesday its index of manufacturing activity ticked down to 49.6.

Olympic Ads Help Boost GM Sales

September 4, 2012 2:10 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

General Motors says its U.S. sales rose 10 percent last month as advertising on the Olympics and a Chevrolet money-back guarantee program drew more customers. GM rebounded from a bad July to sell almost 241,000 cars and trucks in August. Chevy brand sales were up more than 11 percent, and Chevy car sales rose 25 percent. But SUV sales tumbled in a month with rising gasoline prices.

Nation's 'Carpet Capital' Struggles To Recover

September 4, 2012 2:04 pm | by Ashley Hopkinson, Associated Press | News | Comments

Factories dot the highway and carpet retailers and mills line the main street through this town nestled in the north Georgia foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, making clear why Dalton was dubbed Carpet Capital of the World. Many of those businesses are shuttered now, hinting at one of the city's more dubious distinctions: The city has lost more jobs per capita in the past year than any other in the U.S.

Chrysler Sales Rise On Demand For Pickups

September 4, 2012 10:28 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

Chrysler's U.S. sales rose 14 percent in August on strong demand for Ram pickup trucks. The Ram, which had its best August in five years, helped Chrysler sell more than 148,000 vehicles last month. The results are a sign that car and truck sales will remain strong despite consumers' worries about the economy.

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