Stock markets have sunk after signs of weaker growth in the United States, Europe, and China. Turmoil in developing countries has further spooked investors. The upheaval has renewed doubts about the Federal Reserve's next steps.
The U.S. trade deficit increased in December after hitting a four-year low in November. But for the year, the deficit fell to its lowest point since 2009 as exports rose to an all-time high.
Ingersoll-Rand plc said Wednesday that it is increasing its quarterly dividend by 19 percent and announced a $1.5 billion share repurchase program. Shares of the Irish industrial and commercial products maker jumped in trading in reaction.
Payroll processor ADP says companies added 175,000 jobs last month. That's down from 227,000 in December, which was revised lower. But it was much better than the government's official figure of just 74,000 new jobs in December.
U.S. manufacturers saw orders for their products decline in December by the largest amount in five months although the setback for a key category that tracks business investment was not as large as first reported.
“While U.S. manufacturing continued its growth into the new year, survey data from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed that the pace of factory activity slowed considerably. The overall Index fell by 5.2 percentage points from 56.5 in December to 51.3 in January, still signaling overall output advances but at a far more muted pace."
U.S. stocks fell sharply in afternoon trading Monday, pushing down the Dow Jones industrial average more than 260 points as investors worried about reports of sluggish growth in the U.S. economy. The decline adds to losses racked up by the market in January.
Frigid temperatures and snowy weather generally kept buyers away from auto showrooms last month, with Ford, General Motors, Toyota, and Volkswagen all reporting declines from a year ago. But Chrysler, Nissan, and Subaru dealers were smiling because sales were up for all three brands.
U.S. manufacturing barely expanded last month as factories cut back sharply on production, and new orders plunged. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its index of manufacturing activity fell to 51.3 in January from 56.5 in the previous month.
Americans increased their spending at a solid pace for the second straight month in December even though their income was flat. Consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in December, compared with November when spending had increased an even stronger 0.6 percent, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
Honda Motor Co. reported on Friday a 160.7 billion yen ($1.58 billion) net profit for the October-December fiscal third quarter, up from 77.4 billion yen the year before.
The U.S. economy is showing more strength than at any time since the Great Recession began six years ago. Employers are hiring. Home prices, sales, and construction have surged. Corporate profits and stocks have hit records. And consumers have picked up their spending.
Unemployment rates fell in four-fifths of US states in December and rose in just two, though most of the improvement stemmed from unemployed Americans giving up on their job searches.
The reduction in orders was led by very large percentage declines in defense capital goods, civilian aircraft, computers and electronic products, and motor vehicle orders. Government austerity led to lower military equipment spending last month (which was not new), and defense capital goods orders fell 20 percent in 2013 as a whole.
Industrial equipment maker Siemens AG said quarterly net profit rose 20 percent as the company moved past one-time charges for delays delivering high-speed trains. Net profit rose to 1.46 billion euros ($2 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2013, the company's fiscal first. That was up from 1.21 billion euros a year ago.
Ford Motor Co. enjoyed one of the best years in its history in 2013, but the celebration won't last long. Ford has already warned that profits will be down this year as it launches a record 23 vehicles and builds seven plants around the world.
Businesses cut back sharply on their orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in December with a key category that signals business investment plans falling by the biggest amount in five months. The weakness was led by a big 17.5 percent drop in the volatile category of commercial aircraft.
In a turnabout, there are now slightly more union members working for private firms than in government, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. That reverses a five-year trend. Although the rate of membership among all workers didn't budge, the overall number of union members grew slightly, rising about 162,000 to nearly 14.5 million.
Toyota remained the top-selling automaker for the second year in a row, beating U.S. rival General Motors by some 270,000 vehicles in 2013, and set an ambitious target to sell more than 10 million vehicles this year. That would mark a milestone as no automaker has ever topped annual worldwide sales of 10 million.
With the worst of the global financial crisis behind them, CEOs are ready to move on from the fight for survival their businesses have been in for the past few years, a survey found Tuesday.
SABMiller PLC, one of the world's biggest brewers, says demand in emerging markets fueled sales in the third quarter, which ended Dec. 31. Chief Executive Alan Clark says in a statement Tuesday that growth in Africa, Latin America and China helped overall revenue grow 4 percent despite weaknesses in the North American and European markets.
The December 2013 composite index improved to 67 from 66 in the September survey—the fourth straight quarterly advance and the highest level since the September 2011 reading of 67. For 17 quarters, the index has remained above the threshold of 50, the dividing line separating contraction and expansion.
U.S. factory output rose for a fifth straight month in December, as manufacturers cranked out more cars and trucks, appliances, and processed food. The gains suggest factories gave economic growth a strong boost at the end of the year. The Federal Reserve said Friday that factory production rose 0.4 percent in December.
Every January, companies make predictions about the year ahead and what trends they should expect. Bobby Bono, the U.S. industrial manufacturing leader at PwC, has assembled a list of trends he is predicting for the manufacturing sector moving forward.
The European car market has endured its longest slump ever with a sixth straight year of contraction in 2013, but an unexpected surge in December sales may signal recovery, according to industry data released Thursday.