Can GM Keep Rallying After Q3 Earnings?

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General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) is scheduled to release its most recent quarterly results before the markets open on Tuesday. While most of 2017 has been quiet for GM, the auto manufacturer appears to be building momentum into this earnings report, with its stock up about 25% since it reported second-quarter results.

Out of the major auto manufacturers, GM is somewhere near the middle of the pack in terms of its performance, with Ferrari and Fiat Chrysler taking the top spots. However, compared to the broad markets GM is doing exceedingly well, with its stock up about 31% in 2017, compared to the S&P 500, which is only up about 15%.

Thomson Reuters has consensus estimates of $1.13 in earnings per share (EPS) and $32.67 billion in revenue. The third-quarter of 2016 reportedly had $1.72 in EPS and $42.83 billion in revenue.

Autonomous (self-driving) vehicles is the next big trend among auto manufacturers and some Silicon Valley companies. GM has been taking a proactive approach in how the company is innovating in this field. The company paid $500 million in January 2016 to partner up with Lyft on driverless technology, and two months later GM paid $1 billion for software developer Cruise Automation.

In fact, GM and its Cruise Automation subsidiary have applied to the state of New York to begin sustained testing of fully autonomous (self-driving) vehicles in the state beginning early next year. GM and Cruise are applying to begin testing in New York City, according to an announcement Tuesday morning from the governor’s office.

Cruise is applying to test a Level 4 autonomous vehicle for the first time in New York City. A Level 4 autonomous vehicle is essentially capable of performing all driving tasks even if a human driver fails to respond to a request to intervene.

The testing will be conducted in a controlled (“geofenced”) area of the city and will include an engineer in the driver’s seat to monitor and evaluate the vehicle’s performance and a second person in the passenger seat.

Prior to the release of the earnings report, a few analysts weighed in on GM:

  • Barclays has an Overweight rating with a $55 price target.
  • Citigroup has a Buy rating with a $53 price target.
  • RBC has a Sector Perform rating and a $44 price target.
  • Morgan Stanley has an Overweight rating with a $43 target price.

Shares of GM were last seen at $45.38, with a consensus analyst price target of $43.26 and a 52-week trading range of $30.21 to $46.11.