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.
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.
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.
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'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.
Chairman Ben Bernanke sent a clear message Friday that the Federal Reserve will do more to help the still-struggling U.S. economy. His remarks left two questions: What exactly will the Fed do? And when? Bernanke described the U.S. economy's health as "far from satisfactory" and noted that the unemployment rate, now 8.3 percent, hasn't declined since January.
Orders to U.S. companies rose in July, reflecting a surge in demand for autos and commercial aircraft. But in a troubling sign of manufacturing weakness, a key orders category that tracks business investment plans fell by the largest amount in eight months.
Ford says its Focus small car is on track to become the best-selling car in the world this year, trumping the Toyota Corolla. Ford sold 489,616 Focus sedans and hatchbacks worldwide in the first half of 2012. That was almost 27,000 more than the perennial best-seller, the Toyota Corolla.
Japanese industrial production resumed its slide, falling 1.2 percent in July from June amid slumping global demand, the government said Friday. It's a disappointing sign for the world's third-biggest economy and suggests that any sort of recovery is sputtering.
General Motors says sales of its Chevrolet Volt electric car will break a monthly record in August. The company says it already has sold more than 2,500 Volts this month with two days left. The old record was 2,000 in March. A spokeswoman says about one-third of the sales are in California, where Volt owners can drive alone in carpool lanes. She says sales are growing in other states.
Two major Chinese solar panel makers reported dismal second-quarter results and lowered their shipment forecasts Wednesday, the latest blows to an industry in turmoil. JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd.'s second-quarter loss widened from a year earlier, the company said Wednesday. Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. swung to a net loss after posting net income in the same quarter a year earlier.
Expressing alarm at Europe's debt problems, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called on Greece, Spain and Italy to embrace budget cuts and get their finances in order after meeting Thursday with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel was in Beijing for talks aimed at boosting trade and allaying Chinese fears about Europe's heavy government debts.
Government efforts to reverse China's economic slump are taking effect and growth is "stabilizing at a slow pace," the head of the country's planning agency said Wednesday. The statement by the minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission came amid a flurry of mixed signals that show some activity picking up but export orders and corporate profits weakening.
JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd.'s second-quarter loss widened from a year earlier, the company said Wednesday, as it became the latest victim of turmoil in the Chinese solar panel industry. JA also lowered its outlook for the year, and its stock, which trades as American depositary shares on the Nasdaq, plunged nearly 9 percent in afternoon trading.
The U.S. economy grew at a tepid 1.7 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, suggesting growth will stay weak in the second half of the year. Slightly stronger consumer spending and greater exports were the main reasons the Commerce Department reported Wednesday that growth was better than its initial estimate of 1.5 percent.
Shares of Nokia Corp. surged on Monday after a Wall Street analyst said that the Finnish phone maker could benefit from the $1 billion patent verdict against Samsung. The decision could delay technology developments for devices that, like Samsung phones, run Google Inc.'s Android operating system. That could boost Nokia's line of Windows Phone-based smartphones.
Chinese auto and battery maker BYD Co. says first-half profit plunged 94 percent as it faced tougher competition in the world's biggest auto market. BYD said late Monday that profit sank to 16 million ($2.5 million) or 0.01 yuan (0.02 US cents) per share on a slight dip in revenue to 21.4 billion yuan. In the same period last year, BYD reported profit of 275 million yuan or 0.12 yuan per share.
The U.S. economic recovery hasn't felt much like one even for people who managed to find new jobs after being laid off. Most of them have had to settle for less pay. Only 56 percent of Americans laid off from January 2009 through December 2011 had found jobs by the start of this year, the Labor Department said Friday. More than half of them took jobs with lower pay. One-third took pay cuts of 20 percent or more.
The August 2012 MCI-EFI reports a qualitative assessment of both the prevailing business conditions and expectations for the future as reported by key executives from the $628B equipment finance sector. Overall, confidence in the equipment finance market is 50.2, down from the July index of 51.5, reflecting ongoing industry concerns over economic, regulatory, and political uncertainty.
The number of people seeking first-time unemployment benefits rose a slight 4,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 372,000, evidence that the job market's recovery remains modest and uneven. The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 3,750 to 368,000.
Signs that U.S. manufacturing is faltering emerged from a report Friday that orders for long-lasting factory goods, excluding the volatile transportation category, fell in July for the fourth time in five months. Overall orders for durable goods rose a seasonally adjusted 4.2 percent in July, the Commerce Department said.
China's manufacturing activity fell to a nine-month low in August, a survey showed Thursday, stepping up pressure on Beijing for more interest rate cuts and stimulus measures to revive growth in the world's second-largest economy. HSBC Corp. said a preliminary version of its monthly purchasing managers' index fell to 47.8 from July's 49.3 on a 100-point scale where numbers below 50 indicate a contraction.
The resiliency of industrial real estate is showing itself noticeably heading into the second half of 2012. Key markets nationwide continue to experience healthy demand, declining vacancies and positive absorption, which are beginning to push rent growth and foster the return of speculative construction.
Investors bought metals Wednesday after the Federal Reserve hinted that it could take more action to help the economy. Prices for gold and silver jumped after 2 p.m., when the Fed released minutes from its most recent meeting. The Fed suggested it could act unless the economic recovery picks up dramatically.
Chinese solar panel makers that grew fast over the past decade are suffering big losses due to slumping global sales and a price war that threaten an industry seen by communist leaders as a role model for hopes to transform China into a technology leader.