Correspondent, Chicago
James's Feed
May 7, 2014

U.S. drug ‘mule’ faces possible prison sentence on 90th birthday

DETROIT (Reuters) – An Indiana man who prosecutors said hauled well over a ton of cocaine to Michigan from the southwestern United States as part of a drug trafficking operation is set to be sentenced in federal court on Wednesday, his 90th birthday.

Leo Sharp, a decorated World War Two infantryman with the U.S. Army in Italy, was pulled over by the police in October 2011 for erratic driving on Interstate 94 with what turned out to be 104 bricks of cocaine in his truck, according to court documents.

Apr 25, 2014

Whirlpool profit misses forecasts on Asia, Latam weakness

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Whirlpool Corp (WHR.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Friday reported quarterly results below analysts’ expectations as currency and other headwinds in Latin America and Asia offset a modest sales increase in North America and Europe.

The news sent Whirlpool’s shares down nearly 2 percent.

The world’s largest maker of home appliances reported a first-quarter net profit of $160 million, or $2.02 per share, down from $252 million, or $3.12 a share, a year earlier.

Apr 25, 2014

New report calls U.S. a ‘rising star’ of global manufacturing

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Call it the comeback kid.

A new ranking of the competitiveness of the world’s top 25 exporting countries says the United States is once again a “rising star” of global manufacturing thanks to falling domestic natural gas prices, rising worker productivity and a lack of upward wage pressure.

The report, released on Friday by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG,) found that while China remains the world’s No. 1 country in terms of manufacturing competitiveness, its position is “under pressure” as a result of rising labor and transportation costs and lagging productivity growth.

Apr 24, 2014

Caterpillar posts higher first-quarter profit, raises outlook

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Thursday posted a quarterly profit that topped analysts’ estimates and raised its full-year outlook on a stronger-than-expected rebound in sales to the construction industry.

The news sent shares of the world’s largest maker of earth-moving machinery up 4.0 percent to $107.20 in trading before the market opened.

Apr 22, 2014

Harley-Davidson shares surge on higher-than-expected profit

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Harley-Davidson Inc (HOG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) shares surged nearly 9 percent on Tuesday after the iconic U.S. motorcycle maker posted a better-`than-expected quarterly profit, lifted by strong international demand.

The company’s results were also lifted by its continued success in cutting production costs. Harley-Davidson said its gross margins grew a full percentage point year-over-year to 37.7 percent during the most recent quarter, a testament analysts said to the company’s five-year restructuring under CEO Keith Wandell. The austerity drive concluded last year and pulled $300 million in annual costs out of its manufacturing operations.

Apr 7, 2014

Not your old man’s Hog: Harley bets big on a small bike

, April 7 (Reuters) – To catch a glimpse of
Harley-Davidson Inc history, visit its Milwaukee
headquarters, housed in the 111-year-old company’s first real
factory. Or tour its York, Pennsylvania, plant, which has
cranked out motorcycles since the early 1970s and builds some of
its biggest cruising bikes, including the Road King and Electra
Glide.

But for a look at the company’s future, head for its vehicle
and power-train plant in Kansas City. Opened in 1998, the
435,000-square-foot factory produces several of Harley’s most
popular bikes, including the Sportster and V-Rod.

Mar 20, 2014

From dumb iron to Big Data: Caterpillar’s dealer sales push

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Caterpillar Inc has a long tradition of proudly – and publicly – proclaiming how much it loves its dealers.

In recent years, the Peoria, Illinois-based company has called the 178 independently owned businesses that distribute its earth-moving products worldwide everything from “a critical competitive differentiator” to “the foundation” of its success.

Mar 6, 2014

Caterpillar dealer push may drive some out, Levenick says

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Caterpillar Inc’s (CAT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) bid to lift the financial performance of its dealer network isn’t designed to thin the ranks of the 178 independent distributors that sell and service its earth-moving products around the globe, a company executive said.

But Stuart Levenick, who is charged with overseeing the financial turnaround, said an unknown number of dealers including some family-run businesses, could be casualties of the push unveiled last month.

Mar 1, 2014

Exclusive: Fared Adib, senior Sprint executive, departing – memo

By James B. Kelleher and Carey Gillam

(Reuters) – Another senior executive is leaving Sprint Corp, the U.S. wireless company that has seen several key leaders exit since it was acquired last year by Japan’s SoftBank Corp (9984.T).

Fared Adib, a 12-year veteran of Sprint who was tapped by SoftBank to lead a new initiative last fall, has resigned from the Overland Park, Kansas-based company, according to an internal memo obtained by Reuters.

Mar 1, 2014

Fared Adib, senior Sprint executive, departing – memo

March 1 (Reuters) – Another senior executive is leaving
Sprint Corp, the U.S. wireless company that has seen
several key leaders exit since it was acquired last year by
Japan’s SoftBank Corp (9984.T).

Fared Adib, a 12-year veteran of Sprint who was tapped by
SoftBank to lead a new initiative last fall, has resigned from
the Overland Park, Kansas-based company, according to an
internal memo obtained by Reuters.