Job outlook optimistic
The latest leading economic index for Summit and Portage counties rose 0.5 point in January, suggesting stronger job growth in coming months. The two-county Akron metropolitan index rose to 98.2 in January from 97.7 in December; the index was at 97.9 a year ago.
The Ohio Leading Indicator index was 92.3 in January, up 0.1 point from December and 91.4 a year ago. The small rise suggests slow but continued employment expansion statewide.
Leading economic indicator indexes also rose in the Canton, Cleveland and Youngstown metro areas.
Union opposes split
The United Steelworkers union is bucking a teachers union pension fund, saying it doesn’t want steel and bearings maker Timken Co. in Canton to be split into two companies.
The Pittsburgh-based union issued a statement Monday supporting company management’s efforts to fight off a shareholder proposal to spin off Timken’s steel division. USW Local 1123 represents about 2,300 hourly Timken employees in Stark County.
Two Timken shareholders — Relational Investors and the $161 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System, a pension fund for that state’s unionized teachers — want Timken to spin off its steel unit and create two publicly traded companies. The split would result in greater shareholder value, the two investors say.
“Timken has a long, successful history in its present form, providing employment to our communities and value to shareholders,” the Steelworkers said in a statement. “We believe that changing the corporate structure as proposed threatens to undermine both.”
TIRE & RUBBER INDUSTRY
Michelin revenue down
Michelin, Europe’s largest tire maker, said first-quarter revenue fell 8.1 percent as a recession reducing car sales in its home region widened to hurt demand at mining vehicle and aircraft manufacturers.
Sales declined to $6.4 billion from $6.9 billion a year earlier, France-based Michelin said Monday in a statement. Revenue missed the $6.5 billion average of four analyst estimates compiled by financial analysts at Bloomberg. The tire maker reiterated forecasts of steady volume and stable earnings for 2013.
More Lockheed funds held
The Pentagon’s withholding of payments from Lockheed Martin Corp. over flaws in a business system used to track costs and schedules for its F-35 fighter has increased to $130 million.
The amount held back, equal to 5 percent of periodic billings by the Bethesda, Md.-based company, has climbed from $47 million in October. The Defense Contract Management Agency first raised concerns in 2007 about internal company data generated for Lockheed’s fighter programs — the F-35, F-22 and F-16 jets. Withholding will continue until the agency determines Lockheed’s aeronautics unit “has made significant progress to successfully completing” a corrective action plan, the agency said. The F-35’s estimated cost for a fleet of 2,443 aircraft has soared to $395.7 billion, up 70 percent from $233 billion in 2001 in current dollars, according to the Pentagon. It’s the most expensive U.S. weapons system.
Dow rises 19.66 points
The S&P 500 increased 0.5 percent to 1,562.50 in Monday trading. The gauge fell 2.1 percent last week, its biggest drop since November, as earnings from Bank of America Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. missed estimates. The Dow Jones industrial average added 19.66 points, or 0.1 percent, to 14,567.17.
Of 111 companies that have reported earnings for the first quarter so far, 72 percent have exceeded analysts’ predictions, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Allstate shifts finances
Allstate Corp., the home and auto insurer that had $359 million of first-quarter costs from catastrophes, plans to obtain $250 million of protection with bonds designed to guard against losses linked to earthquakes and hurricanes, according to Standard & Poor’s. The firm with a regional office in Hudson will buy protection from Sanders Re Ltd., a Bermuda-based special-purpose reinsurance company that plans to issue $100 million of Class A bonds and $150 million of Class B securities due in four years, S&P said April 19. The so-called catastrophe bonds will cover losses linked to hurricanes in states from Alabama to New York as well as earthquake damage in California.
Compiled from staff and wire reports