Shaky Guidance Hammers Ford Stock After Earnings Report

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Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) reported second-quarter 2016 results before markets opened Thursday. The automaker posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.52 on revenues of $39.49 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.47 on revenues of $37.26 billion. Second-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.60 and $36.31 billion in revenues.

Automotive revenues totaled $36.93 billion in the quarter, up from $35.11 billion in the second quarter of 2015. Financial services revenues totaled $2.55 billion, up from $2.16 billion a year ago.

North American sales totaled $23.8 billion, up $500 million year over year, and pretax profit came to $2.7 billion, down $135 million. Operating margin was 0.9% lower than in the second quarter of 2015 at 11.3%. Wholesale volume fell by 1,000 units to 815,000.

Ford did not issue specific guidance, but included this overview:

Expect another strong year of results, and Ford committed to full year guidance of company pre-tax profit and operating margin equal to or better than last year; however, company now sees risks challenging achieving guidance. Entire Ford team working to mitigate the risks.

That statement, with no additional detail, combined with the bottom line miss, was sinking the stock Thursday morning. In a slide presentation accompanying the release, Ford notes that there is “Elevate economic uncertainty restraining business investment, with downside risk to global growth.” Among other things, the company also refers to a “maturing recovery” in the United States and financial market wariness related to Brexit.

The consensus analysts’ estimate for third-quarter EPS is $0.40 on revenues of $34.74 billion. For the full year, the consensus estimates call for $2.08 in EPS and revenues of $143.72 billion.

U.S. retail transaction prices rose $1,300 per vehicle compared with the second-quarter of 2015, primarily due to strong sales of Ford’s F-150 pickups. In South America, both wholesales and revenues fell, while wholesales fell in China on rising revenue but tumbling profits, down from a loss of $8 million a year ago to $202 million this year.

Maybe the company will offer more insight into its second-half risks on its 9:00 a.m. ET conference call Thursday morning. Stay tuned.

Ford’s shares traded down nearly 6.5% in premarket trading at $12.84, after closing at $13.84 on Wednesday, in a 52-week range of $10.44 to $15.84. Thomson Reuters had a consensus 12-month price target of 14.53 before this earnings report.

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