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Ford Motor Co. (F) Q4 Earnings Preview: Better Than Q4 2011, Lower Than Q3 2012

 January 28, 2013 12:29 PM
 


(By Rich Bieglmeier) Ford Motor Co. (F) is scheduled to report earnings before the market open on Tuesday, January 29, 2013. Wall Street anticipates that F will earn $0.26 for its fourth quarter. iStock expects the automaker to report earnings that will exceed Wall Street's consensus number. The iEstimate is $0.31 –  a 5 cents upside surprise.

In case you don't know, Ford Motor Company engages in the development, manufacture, distribution, and service of vehicles and related parts worldwide. The company operates through two sectors, Automotive and Financial Services. The automotive sector offers vehicles primarily under the Ford and Lincoln brand names. The Financial Services sector offers various automotive financing products to and through automotive dealers.

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Ford is the Adam Dunne of earnings announcements, except with a much, MUCH better batting average. The car and truck maker takes big swings and either jacks the ball out of the park or strikes out. In the last four years, Ford has topped Wall Street's consensus estimate 13 of 16 quarterly checkups by an average of a whopping 52%. Toss out one big, right edge outlier of 273%, and the average bullish surprise is still a healthy 33.58%. The trifecta of misses has been no less dramatic, averaging 24.48%.

While Ford's earnings surprises have generated ooohs, ahhs, and ughs, its stock performance in the days surrounding earnings have a little less exciting, more like triples, and doubles on average. The nine times in the last 16 shareholders got a hit from Wall Street's reaction, F's price tacked on an average of 10% - triple – or maybe an in the park home run with a close call at the plate?  

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Seven times, investors were sent back to the bench; helmet in hand, with a strike three call for Ford's shares, dropping an average of 6.07%.

According to BizJournals.com, Ford had five of the top 20 selling cars and trucks in 2012: #20 – Explorer, #12 Fusion, #11 Focus, #10 escape, and #1 F-Series trucks. As we like to do, iStock refers to Google trends to see what folks are searching on the web. It's as American as apple pie now to search and surf before buying. If the number of queries is up, studies suggest sales will be higher, too.

The results:

  • Year over year (YoY), "Ford Explorer" searches are down 5.2%, and compared to Q3 2012 (QoQ), queries fell 10.9% on average.
  • "Ford Fusion" YoY up 65%, QoQ up 10% on average.
  • "Ford Focus" YoY down 22.8%, QoQ down 15.6% on average.
  • "Ford Escape" YoY up 18.6%, QoQ down 17.7%% on average.
  • "Ford F-Series" YoY up 16.4%, QoQ down 5.3%% on average.

Our Goolge Trends review suggests that earnings should be up compared to Q4 2011 when Ford profited 20 cents per hares, and down somewhat for Q3's eps of 40 cents. Check it out, both Wall Street's Estimate and the iEstimate fall in that range.

USA Today reports, Ford "October sales of 168,456, which were flat with the month a year ago." IB Times say for November, "Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) [is] reporting domestic new car sales of 177,673, up 6 percent from a year ago, partly on the strength of the Dearborn-based company's fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles."  And for December, the Detroit Free Press put this in print, "Ford reported sales of 214,222 in December, up 1.9% from a year ago. That brings the total for the year to 2.25 million."

Overall, Google Trends and Sales numbers project a better Q4 2012 than Q4 2011. iStock sees Wall Street's 26 cent consensus estimate as the floor, and our iEstimate as the potential ceiling.
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