Energy leader recognized for apprenticeship program
Siemens Energy and the technical training program Apprenticeship 2000 will be honored by the Charlotte Regional Partnerships 2013 Jerry Awards on May 16.
The awards are named for Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and Charlotte Douglas International Airport aviation director Jerry Orr, their first recipients. They honor contributions to the regions economy.
Siemens has nearly doubled its Charlotte presence since it bought a Westinghouse facility in 1999, adding steam and gas turbine manufacturing operations. The company has helped develop curricula at UNC Charlottes new Energy Production and Infrastructure Center, Central Piedmont Community Colleges Carolinas Energy Training Center and at Apprenticeship 2000.
Apprenticeship 2000 combines classwork and paid on-the-job training in a four-year technical program that leads graduates to associates degrees with guaranteed jobs at completion. The program trains tool-and-die makers, electronics technicians and other highly-skilled trade workers. Bruce Henderson
Stocks sink in advance of earnings reports
Investors started the week on a cautious note, pulling the Standard & Poors 500 index down from the five-year high it reached Friday.
The move lower on Monday is likely the result of traders taking some winnings off the table after the stock markets surge last week, said Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ.
Investors are also preparing for corporate Americas seasonal parade of earnings reports, which starts Tuesday.
You can summarize it as profit-taking and preparation, Stovall said. Investors are digesting some of those gains from last week and positioning themselves so theyre not too far extended if fourth-quarter earnings slip a bit.
The S&P 500 fell 4.58 points to close at 1,461.89. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 50.92 points to 13,384.29, while the Nasdaq composite dropped 2.84 points to 3,098.81.
The S&P 500 soared 4.6 percent last week, ending Friday at a five-year high. The government reported that hiring held up in December during the tense budget negotiations in Washington, with employers adding 155,000 jobs during the month.
Investors celebrated to start the year as lawmakers passed a bill to avoid a combination of government spending cuts and tax increases that came to be known as the fiscal cliff. The law passed late Tuesday night avoided the full force of the budget cuts, which could have dragged the economy into a recession.
Investors are now shifting their focus to corporate profits. Aluminum producer Alcoa launches the reporting season for the fourth quarter of 2012 after the market closes on Tuesday.
Analysts forecast that companies in the S&P 500 will report that quarterly earnings increased 3.3 percent compared with the same period the year before, according to S&P Capital IQ. But all the events that took place in the last three months of 2012 Superstorm Sandy, the presidential election and worries about the narrowly avoided fiscal cliff could make for some surprises.
Among other stocks making big moves, Mooresville-based Lowes Inc. fell 82 cents to $34.76 after analysts at the money-management firm Canaccord cut their rating on the company to sell from hold, saying that the home improvement companys efforts to improve stores and sales wont be successful. A P
Apple hits the 40B downloads mark
Apple says people have downloaded more than 40 billion apps on for the iPhone, iPad and the iPod Touch, nearly half of them in 2012.
Apple Inc. said Monday that December saw record downloads of more than 2 billion apps. There are 775,000 individual applications available in the app store. Apple says it has paid app developers more than $7 billion.
Apple launched its app store in 2008. The store hit the 10 billion downloads mark in early 2011. In March 2012, Apple announced that more than 25 billion apps have been downloaded. The 40 billion milestone does not include updates or re-downloads. AP
Government to require electric cars to make noise
A government safety agency wants electric and hybrid vehicles to make more noise when traveling at low speeds so pedestrians can hear them coming.
The cars and trucks, which are far quieter than conventional gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles, dont make enough noise at low speeds to warn walkers, bicyclists and the visually impaired, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday in a statement.
The proposed rule would require the cars to make additional noise at speeds under 18 miles per hour. NHTSA says the cars make enough noise to be heard at higher speeds.
Automakers would be able to pick the sounds that the cars make from a range of choices. Similar vehicles would have to make the same sounds. And the government says pedestrians must be able to hear the sounds over background noises.
The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rule. The agency will use public input to craft a final rule.
NHTSA estimates that the new noise would prevent 2,800 pedestrian and cyclist injuries during the life of each model year of electric and hybrid vans, trucks and cars. The rule is required by the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act that was passed by Congress in 2010. AP
Eight N.C. cities land on improving market list
The number of metropolitan areas on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index rose for a fifth consecutive month in January yet another sign of the housing markets growing strength.
The number of cities on the list rose to 242, up from 201 markets listed as improving in December. The index identifies metro areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months.
A total of 47 new metro areas were added to the list and six were dropped from it this month. Eight N.C. cities are on the list: Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Goldsboro, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh and Rocky Mount. Asheville and Rocky Mount are new to the list as of this month. Six S.C. cities made the list, including Charleston, Greenville and Columbia.
The trade group created the list in September 2011 to highlight metropolitan areas that were showing signs of improvement, bucking the then-national trend.
The story is no longer about exceptions to the rule, but about the growing breadth of the housing recovery even as overly strict mortgage requirements hold back the pace of improvement, the associations chairman Barry Rutenberg said.
The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 140,000 members. Kerry Singe
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less