Correspondent, Chicago
James's Feed
Nov 20, 2014

With iceman on the way, US plants and suppliers get ready

CHICAGO, Nov 20 (Reuters) – U.S. Steel is stockpiling extra
iron ore ahead of what could be another record-long freeze-up of
the Great Lakes.

General Motors has built up inventories of critical parts at
its plants and established a supply chain “crisis room” that
will swing into action in the event of a major winter storm.

Oct 31, 2014

Jilted Chinese supplier tells would-be U.S. reshorer: ‘Not so fast’

Oct 31 (Reuters) – Corporate America’s love affair with
China has cooled for lots of reasons, from the slowdown in the
Chinese economy to the flurry of crack-downs targeting Western
multinationals.

A lawsuit filed in federal court in Arkansas presents
another example of why U.S. companies may reconsider plans to
move production to China: getting out of the country could be a
lot harder than getting in.

Oct 23, 2014

Caterpillar profit beats view, raises outlook; shares gain

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) shares jumped more than 6 percent in premarket trading after the company reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit and boosted its 2014 profit outlook, citing strong demand for its products in North America.

Excluding restructuring costs, Caterpillar said it now expects to earn $6.50 a share in 2014, against an original estimate of $5.85.

Oct 22, 2014

Polaris beats on profit, raises forecast yet again

Oct 22 (Reuters) – Polaris Industries Inc reported a
higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, lifted by
strong demand for its snowmobiles, motorcycles and other
off-road and specialty vehicles in every region outside Europe.

The Minneapolis-based company also raised its forecast for
full-year earnings, the third time it has done so this year.

Oct 21, 2014

Harley-Davidson results top view, outlook unchanged

Oct 21 (Reuters) – Harley-Davidson Inc reported
stronger-than-expected quarterly financial results on Tuesday,
lifted by increased motorcycle sales in key markets, including
the United States.

Harley’s badly battered shares surged nearly 8 percent in
early electronic trading in New York.

Oct 17, 2014

U.S. natgas engine sales lagging fuel’s steep price plunge

CHICAGO, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Natural gas-fueled engines,
touted as a clean, low-cost alternative to diesel, continue to
struggle for acceptance in the U.S. transportation sector
despite a surge in gas production that has sent the alternative
fuel’s domestic price plunging.

U.S. natural gas prices closed on Friday at $3.766 per
million British thermal units, down 42 percent since February.
At its current levels, natgas is about $1.50 a gallon cheaper
than diesel fuel, according to the U.S. Energy Information
Administration. For U.S. railroads alone, which consumed 3.6
billion gallons of diesel in 2012, the potential savings are
huge.

Sep 29, 2014

India’s Modi promises U.S. CEOs a return to market reforms

Sept 29 (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told
nearly a dozen U.S. company chiefs on Monday that he is
committed to liberalizing his country’s economy, which has
underperformed other emerging markets recently after years of
breakneck growth.

Modi spoke at a breakfast with 11 chief executive officers
during his first U.S. visit since coming came to power in May,
vowing to get India’s economy back on track.

Sep 25, 2014

Bad U.S. roads force “just in time” manufacturers to plan for ‘just in case’

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) РSome of America’s leanest manufacturers share a fat secret.

Companies like Whirlpool and Caterpillar are making costly additions to their otherwise sinewy supply chains to compensate for aging U.S. roads that are too potholed and congested for “just in time” delivery.

Some opt to keep more trucks and inventory on the road. Others are leasing huge “just in case” warehouses and guarded parking lots on the edges of big cities. All that activity raises costs, which are expected to increase even more if roads are allowed to deteriorate further and an improving economy boosts traffic.

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.