After executives told Ford Motor Co. shareholders Monday the company would miss its profit target for 2014 as the growing expense of recall and losses from the company’s operations in Europe and South America, Ford stock fell dramatically throughout the day and it continued falling for a second straight day yesterday.
Ford stock fell by more than 2% or 32 cents per share to close at $14.79 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday after tumbling 7.5% on Monday.
Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks told analysts and reports that 2014 pretax profit was now expected to be $6 billion to $7 billion, compared with an earlier projection of $7 billion to $8 billion. It attributed the change to recall-related expenses in North America and larger than expected losses in South America and Russia.
Brian Johnson, Barclays auto analyst told the Wall Street Journal, despite high expectations for the 2015 F-150 pickup truck, Ford’s outlook for the rest of the year implies North American operating margins of between 8% and 9%, a significant decline 11% last quarter.
More bearish investors interpreted the comments of Ford executives as a sign that the expansion of the auto industry sales, which has been aided by access to relatively inexpensive loans, is nearing its end.
However, other analysts are looking at the drop in the value of Ford shares as a potential buying opportunity.
Bret Jensen of Seeking Alpha said despite a 10% slide during the past two days “there are myriad reasons to believe that the stock is near a floor, and patient investors will be rewarded for buying additional shares at this discounted entry level.”
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In addition, Ford shares are cheap as the stock provides a 3% dividend yield and 2015 will bring “sunnier skies for this American manufacturing icon.”
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“Contrarian investors as well as option-minded traders are facing a very attractive purchase opportunity as investors panic and act irrationally,” noted Achilles Research.
Shanks also said Ford expects to realize during 2015 the benefits of its global product investment and growth strategies, and will continue its strong product push with 16 global vehicle launches.
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Ford expects its pre-tax profit, excluding special items, to be significantly higher — in the $8.5 billion to $9.5 billion range — with all five automotive regions improving on 2014 results, he added.
Europe, which Ford previously said would return to profitability in 2015, is now expected to lose about $250 million because of continued volatility in Russia and higher pension expenses due lower interest rates. But Ford continues to believe it has the right transformation plan for Europe, which is focused on products, brand and costs.