Financial Accounting Blog

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Ford sends not so discreet signal to analysts. Ford Motor Company announced that it has completed the first phase of its turn-around effort and still plans on making $7 billion operating profit by the middle of the decade. Even though it earned $0.96 a share in the first quarter, it revised its earnings upward by only $0.30 to $1.50 - $1.60. This should be a clear signal that it expects lower profits through the rest of the year.
Ford has been very conservative recently when offering guidance on its earnings and cost-cutting expectations, keeping with a pledge to “under-promise and over-deliver.”

Last month, the company boosted its full-year earnings guidance by 30 cents to a range of $1.50 to $1.60 a share. Some analysts say the new prediction remains conservative given that Ford earned 96 cents a share in the first quarter.

“It could put Ford in a difficult position of trying to explain to investors just why the remaining three quarters of the year should be nowhere near as profitable as the first quarter, while maintaining a position that the revitalization plan is indeed on track,” Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Chris Ceraso said in a research note this week.