Why Investors Remain Cool After GM Earnings

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General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2016 results before markets opened Tuesday. For the quarter, the automaker posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.28 on revenues of $43.9 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $1.39 on revenues of $39.62 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $1.17 and $41.5 billion in revenues.

For the full year, GM posted EPS of $6.12 and revenues of $166.4 billion compared with EPS of $5.02 and revenues of $152.36 billion in 2015. Analysts were looking for EPS of $6.01 and revenues of $163.71 billion.

Fourth-quarter net income fell 71% to $1.8 billion, including a net loss of $100 million on special items and $300 million on foreign exchange effects. In the fourth quarter of 2015, GM’s net income included a gain of $4 billion primarily related to deferred tax asset valuation allowances in Europe.

Global retail sales rose 3.3% in the fourth quarter while global market share rose by 10 basis points year over year. In the United States, share was up 1.5 points to 13.9%, European share dipped 0.1 point to 5.6%, Latin American share rose 0.9 point to 16.8% and Asia/Pacific, Middle East, Africa sales dipped 0.2 point to 10.5%. Fleet sales rose from 19.7% to 21% of retail sales.

For the full year, global retail market share dipped from 11.1% to 10.8%. North American sales rose from 12.4% to 12.9%, with truck sales slipping from 24.6% to 24.2% and crossover sales falling from 16.9% to 15%.

Mary Barra, the company’s CEO, said:

By almost any measure, 2016 was a great year for our business and I am confident we can achieve even stronger results. We’ll work to build on our momentum, while continuing to drive our company to innovate and shape the future of mobility.

The company expects full-year 2017 EPS of $6.00 to $6.50. Consensus estimates call for full-year revenues of $161.66 billion and EPS of $6.05. The company also expects to generate about $15 billion in automotive operating cash flow and about $6 billion in adjusted automotive free cash flow. GM expects its global volume from new or refreshed vehicles to grow to 38% from 2017 to 2020, up from 26% in the 2011 to 2016 period. New or refreshed crossovers, trucks and SUVs are expected to represent a majority of this volume between 2017 and 2020. The company also raised its cost efficiency target for 2015 to 2018 to $6.5 billion, an increase of $1 billion.

In 2016, GM has paid $2.3 billion in dividends and repurchased $2.5 billion in common stock.

GM’s shares traded down about 0.8% in Tuesday’s premarket session at $36.55 in a 52-week range of $26.69 to $38.38. The 12-month price target for the shares was $38.45 before this morning’s report.