Correspondent, Chicago
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Sep 25, 2013

Insight: Wal-Mart ‘Made in America’ drive follows suppliers’ lead

By Jessica Wohl and James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc, whose focus on low-cost sourcing helped to fuel the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing, has been promoting a patriotic new image in recent months.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company says it is “leading an American renewal in manufacturing” and “bringing jobs back to the U.S.” with its pledge made in January to buy an additional $50 billion in U.S.-made goods over the next 10 years.

Sep 25, 2013

Wal-Mart ‘Made in America’ drive follows suppliers’ lead

Sept 25 (Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc, whose focus
on low-cost sourcing helped to fuel the offshoring of U.S.
manufacturing, has been promoting a patriotic new image in
recent months.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company says it is “leading
an American renewal in manufacturing” and “bringing jobs back to
the U.S.” with its pledge made in January to buy an additional
$50 billion in U.S.-made goods over the next 10 years.

Sep 1, 2013

Analysis: Caterpillar plan illustrates risk of variable pay plans

PEORIA, Ill (Reuters) – Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has put workers on notice that its short-term incentive plan, the centerpiece of a performance-based, profit-sharing program, will make its smallest payout since the recession when the payments go out next March.

Like a lot of companies, the world’s largest maker of mining and construction equipment has adopted what is known as a “pay-at-risk” compensation system, which ties a percentage of nearly every non-union employee’s income to Caterpillar’s financial performance.

Aug 21, 2013

Analysis: Polaris Industries: A midcap for daredevils only?

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Polaris Industries Inc’s (PII.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) relaunch this month of the Indian motorcycle, a storied U.S. brand older than Harley-Davidson, has pulses racing on and off Wall Street.

But should investors in the maker of all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and motorcycles be tightening their chin straps for more fun ahead – or dumping their shares?

Aug 14, 2013

Analysis: Lower crop prices a pain for Deere, but farmers are fine

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Wall Street’s frosty reaction on Wednesday to Deere & Co’s (DE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) latest quarterly earnings is no surprise given the recent sharp drop in agricultural commodity prices. Farmers buy fewer tractors and harvesters when corn and soybean prices are down.

But the dramatic drops in corn and other prices over the past year are not causing a lot of pain on the farms. At least not yet. With income at records highs, farmland fetching top dollar and balance sheets strong, a drop in grain prices in the face of another record crop is hardly a sign of doom for growers.

Aug 14, 2013

Deere profit jumps; concerns over farm-belt spending

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Deere & Co (DE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday on strong sales of its tractors and harvesters in the Americas. But concerns that farm-belt spending and commodity prices were poised to weaken sent shares lower.

Earlier this year, Deere, the world’s largest maker of agricultural equipment, lowered its outlook for fiscal 2013 revenue, saying a cooler-than-normal spring in North America had depressed sales. Some investors worried the softness was a sign of a new normal as corn prices have retreated from the all-time highs of last summer.

Aug 14, 2013

Deere posts strong profit, but farmbelt spending a concern

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Deere & Co (DE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported a much higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday on strong sales of its tractors and harvesters in the Americas, but some analysts said the results represented the high-water mark for the company in the current farm cycle.

Deere also said sales for the current quarter would be 5 percent lower than a year earlier. Its shares fell more than 1 percent.

Jul 25, 2013

Harley-Davidson profit rises as U.S. demand rebounds

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Harley-Davidson Inc (HOG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported a 9.9 percent rise in its quarterly profit rose on Thursday, helped by a modest rebound in demand for its motorcycles in the United States, its No. 1 market.

But the Milwaukee-based company stuck by its forecast for annual motorcycle shipments, suggesting sentiment among would-be buyers remained cautious and that the bike maker does not anticipate a late surge in demand in the third quarter, the tail end of its traditional selling season.

Jul 25, 2013

Harley-Davidson posts higher profit as U.S. demand rebounds

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Harley-Davidson Inc (HOG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) posted higher quarterly profit on Thursday, lifted in part by a modest rebound in demand for its motorcycles in the United States, its No. 1 market.

But the Milwaukee-based company stuck by its forecast for annual motorcycle shipments, suggesting sentiment among would-be buyers remained cautious and that the bike maker does not anticipate a late surge in demand in the third quarter, the tail end of its traditional selling season.

Jul 25, 2013

China growth picture may dim but for Caterpillar it’s a bright spot

CHICAGO, July 24 (Reuters) – Few U.S. companies have had a
harder time in recent months defending their enthusiasm for
China than Caterpillar Inc.

In January, executives acknowledged that accounting
misconduct at a Chinese subsidiary would wipe out nearly half of
Caterpillar’s expected earnings in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Last week, its China exposure was criticized by a top
short-seller who warned China’s economic growth was essentially
a state-sponsored bubble that was about to burst.