Correspondent, Chicago
James's Feed
Sep 16, 2014

As U.S. farm cycle turns, tractor makers may suffer longer than farmers

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Farm equipment makers insist the sales slump they face this year because of lower crop prices and farm incomes will be short-lived. Yet there are signs the downturn may last longer than tractor and harvester makers, including Deere & Co (DE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), are letting on and the pain could persist long after corn, soybean and wheat prices rebound.

Farmers and analysts say the elimination of government incentives to buy new equipment, a related overhang of used tractors, and a reduced commitment to biofuels, all darken the outlook for the sector beyond 2019 – the year the U.S. Department of Agriculture says farm incomes will begin to rise again.

Sep 3, 2014

Navistar CEO says company’s big divestitures behind it

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Navistar International Corp (NAV.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the U.S. commercial truck maker that was forced to sell a number of businesses in recent years, has wrapped up the biggest divestitures related to that turnaround, its top executive said on Wednesday.

The company’s top priority now, Chief Executive Officer Troy Clarke told Reuters, is regaining market share lost as it struggled to recover from a disastrous bet it made on a costly proprietary smog-reduction system. The emissions-related debacle sent Navistar’s warranty expenses skyrocketing even as sales tumbled.

Sep 3, 2014

Navistar reports narrower loss, raises industry outlook

Sept 3 (Reuters) – Navistar International Corp
reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Wednesday, as
commercial vehicle demand rebounded in North America and on
lower warranty costs stemming from its failed proprietary engine
technology.

The suburban Chicago-based maker of trucks, buses and
military vehicles reported its first pretax quarterly profit
from continuing operations since 2011, and raised its forecast
for industry sales of the biggest commercial trucks in the
United States and Canada for fiscal 2014.

Aug 14, 2014

Feature – Denver event aims to close gap in Walmart’s ‘Made in USA’ push

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research), which has pledged to buy an additional $250 billion (149.88 billion pounds) in U.S.-made goods over the next decade, is hitting a snag as it tries to meet that promise: Some vendors keen to participate in the initiative complain that after decades of offshoring it has become impossible to domestically source even commonplace components for their products.

So America’s largest retailer has invited dozens of small- and midsize manufacturers that aren’t necessarily interested in having a direct relationship with Walmart to come to Denver this week for a two-day matchmaking event.

Aug 14, 2014

Denver event aims to close gap in Walmart’s ‘Made in USA’ push

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc, which has pledged to buy an additional $250 billion in U.S.-made goods over the next decade, is hitting a snag as it tries to meet that promise: Some vendors keen to participate in the initiative complain that after decades of offshoring it has become impossible to domestically source even commonplace components for their products.

So America’s largest retailer has invited dozens of small- and midsize manufacturers that aren’t necessarily interested in having a direct relationship with Walmart to come to Denver this week for a two-day matchmaking event.

Aug 13, 2014

Deere posts lower quarterly profit, cuts full-year outlook

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Deere & Co on Wednesday posted a lower quarterly profit and cut its full-year forecast as farmers facing falling income as a result of declining grain prices continued to pull back on purchases of the company’s tractors, harvesters and other machinery.

The Moline, Illinois-based company, the world’s largest maker of ag equipment, said it now expected to earn $3.1 billion in fiscal 2014, down from its previous forecast of $3.3 billion, because of falling farm income in the United States, among other factors.

Aug 13, 2014

Shooting of black teen highlights racial divide in Missouri town

FERGUSON Mo (Reuters) – The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday, and subsequent violent protests, highlight a stubborn racial divide in a St Louis suburb that has struggled to build healthy relations between blacks and whites.

From the 1970s, Ferguson, pop. 21,000, changed from being overwhelmingly white to predominantly black as whites left the town and its surrounding areas, seeking to avoid racial integration of public schools.

Aug 6, 2014

Russian ag ban worries, but won’t wallop, U.S. farm equipment makers

Aug 6 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s
announcement on Wednesday that he plans to slap a one-year
import ban on agricultural products from countries that have
imposed sanctions on Russia is unwelcome news to U.S.-based
makers of farm equipment.

But the move is unlikely to have a big impact on the
near-term financial performance of companies like Deere & Co
and Agco Corp because Russia accounts for a
small part of their sales.

Jul 24, 2014

Caterpillar posts higher second-quarter profit; sales fall

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings on Thursday but said sales fell as a continued slump in the global mining industry offset a rebound in the North American building sector.

The stock fell 2.7 percent to $105.40 in early trade.

The company, the world’s largest maker of earth-moving equipment, raised its full-year profit outlook to $5.75 a share, from $5.55 a share. The outlook was lifted, in part, by a $2.5 billion stock repurchase it said it would make during the current quarter.

Jul 23, 2014

Whirlpool cuts outlook as sales outside North America fall

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Whirlpool Corp (WHR.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Wednesday reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as sales fell in every region except North America. The company also cut its full-year earnings outlook, citing expenses from two pending acquisitions.

The news sent shares of Whirlpool, the world’s largest maker of home appliances, down as much as 5.5 percent.