Ford blows away earnings expectations as consumers buy up trucks during pandemic

Business

Incoming Ford CEO Jim Farley (left) and Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. pose with a 2021 F-150 during an event Sept. 17, 2020 at the company’s Michigan plant that produces the pickup.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

Ford Motor is expected to eek out a modest profit for the third quarter when it reports its earnings after the markets close Wednesday as the auto industry continues to recover from factory and showroom shutdowns earlier this year.

Here’s what Wall Street is expecting, based on average analysts’ estimates compiled by Refinitive.

  • Adjusted EPS: 19 cents
  • Automotive revenue: $33.51 billion

Former Ford CFO Tim Stone, who left the company earlier this month, told investors in July that the automaker expected earnings on an adjusted pretax basis of between $500 million and $1.5 billion during the third quarter. That would be down from $1.8 billion in the third quarter of 2019.

Stone said the decline reflects the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, lower profit from Ford Credit, and weaker global demand for new vehicles, parts and services.

Analysts and investors are watching to see if Ford will be able to outperform its previous projections as it did during the second quarter after consumer demand in the U.S. was stronger than anticipated, especially for trucks such as the Ford F-150.

Wall Street also is watching for any additional business changes by Ford CEO Jim Farley, who succeeded Jim Hackett effective Oct. 1, and any updates on the company paying off its increased debt due to the pandemic.

In July, Ford repaid $7.7 billion of an outstanding $15.4 billion on its revolving credit facilities, and also extended $4.8 billion of its three-year revolving credit lines.

Ford’s shares remain down by 17% so far this year, despite an almost 15% increase in the stock price in October.

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