Survey: Outlook is dim
An economic outlook survey by KeyBank of Cleveland released Friday did not have an optimistic forecast.
A Key summary of the survey said: “It’s business as usual — and not in a good way — for middle market executives parsing 2012 presidential election results and post-election headlines for signs political gridlock is giving way to a unified plan for economic progress.”
The survey of what Key called its “Middle Market Business” group said more than two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents have a fair to poor outlook in the next 12 months. Key said 16 percent were “more confident” in their businesses’ potential to thrive in the post-election period.
Key said the percentage of middle market business executives planning on increasing cash reserves nearly doubled. Pre-election surveys indicated 23 percent planned on increasing what Key called “already robust cash reserves.”
Executives were surveyed between Nov. 7-12. Key said it has tracked middle market business sentiment over the past six months.
Ohio moves up
Ohio rose to 33rd from 38th and Michigan remained at No. 47 in Forbes magazine’s new list of “Best States for Business.” The rankings, also online at http://www.forbes.com/best-states-for-business, compare the states in six categories.
Utah ranked No. 1 for the third consecutive year, followed by Virginia, North Dakota, North Carolina, and Colorado. Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Maine are the only states ranked lower than Michigan.
“The ‘right-to-work’ issue is more prominent than ever in our rankings, as all but one of the Top 10 (excluding Colorado) are right-to-work states,” said Kurt Badenhausen, Forbes senior editor. Right-to-work legislation was signed in Michigan this week.
Ohio and Michigan both rank near the bottom in “economic climate” and in “labor supply,” which includes the percentage of residents with college and high school diplomas, and in net migration, projected population growth, and the percentage of the work force represented by unions.
Both states’ highest ranking was in “quality of life,” with Ohio 12th and Michigan 24th.
Price increase for rubber
Rubber gained to the highest price level Friday in more than six months on speculation that China’s manufacturing could expand at a faster pace this month, and crude oil rose.
The contract for delivery in May rose 1.8 percent to $3,302 a metric ton, the highest level at close since May 22, on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange. Futures surged 4.9 percent this week, climbing for a second week.
“Manufacturing data are another sign that the situation in China is stabilizing,” Ker Chung Yang, an analyst at Phillip Futures Pte, said.
China is the world’s second-biggest crude consumer and largest rubber user.
Rubber for delivery in May gained 1.7 percent to close at $4,024 a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. Thai rubber added 0.5 percent to $3.07 a kilogram, according to the Rubber Research Institute of Thailand.
Goodrich provides boost
United Technologies Corp. says its purchase of aircrafts parts maker Goodrich Corp. will drive revenue growth next year, helping overcome Europe’s weak economy and less U.S. defense spending.
The parent of jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney, Otis elevator and other companies tightened its 2012 profit outlook to $5.32 per share, from a previous range of $5.25 to $5.35, matching Wall Street expectations. The conglomerate, based in Hartford, Conn., maintained its $58 billion revenue guidance.
United Technologies expects to make $5.85 to $6.15 per share on revenue of $64 billion to $65 billion next year. Analysts expect $6.15 per share on revenue of $66.13 billion.
Mobile TV programming
Comcast, the country’s largest cable company, says its tablet and phone app now lets subscribers download and store movies and TV shows from some channels for offline viewing.
Cable companies have rushed out applications that let viewers stream TV content, but this is the first one that allows offline viewing. That’s useful wherever there’s no Wi-Fi signal, as cellular downloads are slow and can be expensive, given that video uses a lot of data.
Comcast Corp.’s app won’t allow downloads over cellular, except over Verizon Wireless’ “4G LTE” service. That’s part of a far-reaching deal the company struck with Verizon a year ago. The app allows program storage from Showtime, Starz, Encore and MoviePlex for 14 days.
Compiled from staff and wire reports