Correspondent, Chicago
James's Feed
Feb 26, 2014

Tesla to raise $1.6 bln to build battery factory

Feb 26 (Reuters) – Tesla Motors Inc said on
Wednesday it plans to raise $1.6 billion from investors to
finance a new battery factory that will help the upstart U.S.
automaker reach its goal of producing a lower-priced,
mass-market electric car by 2017.

Tesla said the new plant, nicknamed the “Gigafactory,” would
be built in one of four states: Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico or
Texas. By 2020, Tesla said, the plant would be able to make more
lithium-ion batteries in a year than were produced worldwide in
2013.

Feb 25, 2014

Lesbian couple challenges Michigan’s gay-marriage ban in court

DETROIT (Reuters) – Michigan’s ban on gay marriage perpetuates discrimination and should be overturned, an attorney representing a lesbian couple argued on Tuesday at the start of the latest in a series of legal challenges to U.S. laws banning same-sex unions.

But the state countered in U.S. District Court in Detroit that its law prohibiting gay couples to wed was the “will of the people” who voted it into Michigan’s constitution a decade ago.

Feb 21, 2014

Same-sex couples allowed to wed in Cook County, Illinois

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Same-sex couples in Illinois’ Cook County, which includes the city of Chicago, can wed immediately and do not have to wait to tie the knot until a new state law legalizing gay marriage takes effect in June, a federal judge ruled on Friday.

Illinois lawmakers approved same-sex marriage late in 2013, effective on June 1, and several couples had sued Cook County Clerk David Orr for the right to marry immediately.

Feb 20, 2014

What polar vortex? Caterpillar sales to builders surge despite chill

Feb 20 (Reuters) – Caterpillar Inc said on Thursday
that sales of its construction equipment had surged in recent
months, driven by an especially large jump in demand in North
America, where a series of severe winter storms and arctic
temperatures failed to keep builders out of dealer showrooms.

The Peoria, Illinois-based company, the world’s largest
maker of earth-moving equipment used by builders and miners,
said that worldwide retail sales to end users in the
construction industry rose 9 percent in the three months ended
Jan. 31, driven by a 12 percent increase in North America.

Feb 19, 2014

Watch for companies to claim ‘Jack Frost ate our profits’

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Sick of hearing Americans complain about the winter weather? Too bad. Because the corporate kvetching has only just begun.

While meteorologists say warmer temperatures finally are on the way, savvy investors know a cold front could still be looming when it comes to the profits of publicly traded U.S. companies.

Feb 12, 2014

Deere profit beats Wall Street estimates but outlook unchanged

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Deere & Co (DE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday but kept its full-year forecast unchanged, indicating the challenges the farm equipment industry faces as commodity prices come off the record highs of recent years.

The Moline, Illinois-based company said cost controls had helped offset the effects of moderating demand for its tractors, harvesters and other agricultural machinery in the most recent quarter.

Feb 6, 2014

Bad weather causing ‘fits and starts’ in auto output -Ford exec

CHICAGO, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Heavy snow and bone-chilling
weather this year have taken a toll on Ford Motor Co’s
U.S. vehicle production just as the company kicks off the
biggest year of new model launches in its history, a top
executive said on Thursday.

Extreme weather conditions have made it difficult for Ford
to get auto parts delivered to plants on time. Ford, Toyota
Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co and General Motors
Co have all had to halt production at times over the last
five weeks due to the weather.

Feb 6, 2014

Kia debuts its first electric vehicle for U.S. market

CHICAGO, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Kia Motors Corp
rolled out an electric version of its Soul compact car on
Thursday that the Korean automaker plans to begin selling in
some U.S. markets later this year.

The 2015 Soul EV, unveiled at the media kick-off for the
2014 Chicago Auto Show, is Kia’s first all-electric,
zero-emissions car in the United States and its second “green”
car for the U.S. market, joining a hybrid version of the
company’s best-selling Optima sedan that has been available here
since 2011.

Feb 6, 2014

Cummins posts higher profit but outlook disappoints

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Cummins Inc (CMI.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) posted higher-than-expected quarterly profit as strong sales of engines and other vehicle components to truck and construction-equipment makers in North America, Europe and China, offset weakness in emerging markets, including India and Mexico.

But the company also provided a preliminary forecast for 2014 sales and profits that fell short of expectations, sending its shares lower in early trading.

Jan 31, 2014

For companies, a rocky road ahead in emerging markets

CHICAGO/LONDON (Reuters) – International companies are taking steps to mitigate the effects of the turmoil in emerging markets, including hedging foreign currency exposure more aggressively, reducing some investment plans, cutting costs, and raising prices frequently.

While executives are not hitting the panic button just yet, and many say the risks they face are hardly unique, they are still aggressively tackling costs and making sure that revenue keeps up with inflationary pressures. And many warn that if China suffers a credit crisis as some fear, then things could get a whole lot worse.