GM's dismal profit may spur analysts to cut 2014 estimate

Thu Feb 6, 2014 2:17pm EST
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By Ben Klayman and Deepa Seetharaman

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co reported a disappointing fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, hurt by weaker-than-expected results in Asia and South America that may prompt analysts to ratchet down their profit forecasts for 2014 for the No. 1 U.S. automaker.

The poor showing triggered an early drop in GM's stock price by as much as 2.5 percent, before it recovered to gain 0.2 percent to $35.31 in afternoon trading.

It was the first quarterly earnings report for GM's new management team led by Chief Executive Mary Barra, the 52-year-old electrical engineer and GM "lifer" who became the industry's first female CEO last month.

"We have more work to do and our sense of urgency won't let up one bit," Barra said on a conference call.

Excluding one-time charges, GM earned 67 cents a share, 21 cents less than expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters


The fourth quarter was bogged down by $200 million in one-time charges stemming partly from the Chevrolet brand's exit from Europe and a plan to stop manufacturing cars in Australia. GM has said it will spend another $1.1 billion in 2014 to restructure operations in Europe and South America.

Citi analyst Itay Michaeli said the fourth quarter was disappointing, but GM's projection for a modest profit increase this year remained unchanged from its update to investors in January.   Continued...

A 1967 Chevrolet Camaro is seen at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania February 6, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron