July 25 - Ford's earnings, driven by strong North American sales, beat forecasts- but investors remain skeptical given the tough road ahead in Europe. Bobbi Rebell reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS 4:3 MATERIAL Ford may have beaten Wall Street forecasts with its second quarter earnings- but investors remain skeptical. The stock has been under pressure over the last 3 months as investors bailed out- - pushing it to its lowest point since December of 2009. The elephant in the room: Europe. Ford says it could lose more than $1 billion there this year, double previous estimates, because the economic crisis is crushing auto sales. Morningstar's Dave Whiston: SOUNDBITE: DAVID WHISTON, AUTO ANALYST, MORNINGSTAR (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There's just a lot of over capacity there and I think at some point Ford is going to have to close a plant. The problem is unions are extremely rigid in Europe. They are even more hardline than they are in the states. " Those problems are overshadowing strong numbers closer to home. Operating profits were more than $2 billion dollars in North America. REPORTER BRIDGE: BOBBI REBELL, REUTERS REPORTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: One of the reason's Ford has been able to make so much money in North America is strong demand for vehicles like the Ford Explorer. That's allowed dealerships like Manhattan Auto in New York City to offer fewer incentives, sell more luxuries, and make more money on each vehicle sale. IHS Automotive Senior Economist George Magliano: SOUNDBITE: GEORGE MAGLIANO, SENIOR ECONOMIST, IHS AUTOMOTIVE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "People want better performance, better quality today than with the old products. They also want better amenities and they will pay for it." And that's why the stock could be a good investment- in the long run- the very long run. Morningstar's Whiston sees it hitting $23 a share- 3 years out. SOUNDBITE: DAVID WHISTON, AUTO ANALYST, MORNINGSTAR (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There is nothing really in the stock that makes me think the value is permanently impaired here, especially in the U.S., that business is doing really, really well. Unfortunately Europe is going to be a real drag on whole a lot of sectors at least until the end of this year and probably until the end of 2013. " And the U.S. is also starting to show signs of weakness. Ford now expects U.S. auto sales to be at the lower end of its forecasts because of weaker than expected sales in recent months. Bobbi Rebell, Reuters.