Q1 Preview: Ford (F) Sitting Pretty on Strong Sales, But Will Rising Oil Prices Ruin the Party?


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Shares of Ford Motor Company ( F ) are trading higher Monday ahead of the automaker's first-quarter earnings report, expected out before the market opens Tuesday. The stock last traded at $15.53, up 0.7 percent from Thursday's closing price.

Ford is expected to report EPS of $0.50 on revenue of $30.64 billion. Last quarter, Ford reported EPS of $0.30 on revs of $32.5 billion, mixed versus the analyst consensus. Ford took a $960 million debt conversion charge in the quarter, which reduced EPS results. Looking back at the first quarter of last year, Ford issued non-GAAP EPS of $0.46 on sales of $28.1 billion, compared with consensus of $0.31 for EPS and $30.49 billion for sales.

Shares fell 13.6 percent through the quarter and are up 4 percent since.

Ford stock is trading at a P/E of 7.8x FY12 EPS estimates, compared with 6.1x at General Motors ( GM ), 29.9x for Toyota ( TM ), and 10.3x for Honda Motor ( HMC ).

Data from Bloomberg has 11 analysts with a Buy rating on Ford, 8 with a Hold, and none suggesting to Sell. The analyst price target average is $19.50, with a high of $22 and low of $17. Shares have traded in a range of $18.97 - $9.75 over the last 52-weeks.

Analyst Summary

  • Barclays is looking for EPS of 57 cents. Sees rising gas prices accounting for an 8.1 percent decline in Ford's market share during 2011. While the firm would like to see Ford report a strong number in order to calm investor fears related to the Japanese disasters, Barclays notes Ford could actually benefit from the events as Japanese-based automakers such as Toyota may be feeling a much greater impact. "We estimate Toyota's production will be cut by more than 50 percent, which creates a share gain and pricing opportunity for Ford."

    Barclays maintains an Overweight rating and $20 price target on Ford shares.

  • Deutsche Bank is relatively bullish on Ford, saying that it and General Motors will both see some upside as Japanese OEM inventories fall. "And based on capacity constraints that we see building up, we believe that pricing is going to improve significantly."

    With European sales likely to slow as debt concerns still linger, Deutsche Bank believes investors will turn their attention to Ford's outlook for global sales as well as any color on the continued escalation of crude prices.

    The firm maintains a Buy rating and $20 target on the stock.
Stay tuned to StreetInsider.com's EPS Insider section to see our analysis of the highly-anticipated quarterly results within seconds of the release.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing Stocks
Referenced Stocks: F , GM , HMC , TM

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