Ford (F) just posted its first annual profit in four years, and the company has projected that 2010 will be another year in the black. And I couldn’t agree more. Ford is set for a big year, and I encourage everyone to jump in before the surge.
Here are my top five reasons why investors should buy Ford stock right now.
Reason #1 – A Habit of Topping Expectations
In the second quarter of 2009, Ford’s loss for the period was less than half of the shortfall expected by Wall Street. Then, in third quarter, Ford’s earnings were 316.7% better than analysts’ consensus estimates as it swung to a surprise profit. For the full fiscal year of 2009, Ford posted net income of 86 cents per share. That’s infinitely better than the 31 cent per share loss that Wall Street expected. When a company continually blows away expectations like that, it’s a very impressive sign.
Reason #2 – Great Product Line
Unlike bankrupt competitors Chrysler and General Motors, Ford has a much more balanced product line and does not sell small vehicles at a loss like other automakers. Its European-styled Focus made a big splash at the Detroit auto show, and the company’s Fusion Hybrid and its versatile Transit Connect van snagged the top car and truck of the year awards. Throw those on top of the already successful redesigned Ford Mustang and the F-Series pickup, and you have a great showroom lineup.
Reason #3 – Surging Market Share
Ford really showed its stuff in December, with sales up 32.8% on the month over last year. As the only Detroit automaker to avoid bankruptcy, the company appeared to be eating into the market share of its competitors as consumers lost confidence in the General Motors and Chrysler brands. GM’s December sales fell 5.7%, and Chrysler’s dropped 3.7%. This trend has played out for months and should continue well into 2010. One of my clients is a major car dealer with multiple brands in two states, and he recently informed me that he expects Chrysler to go out of business — and believes that even GM may not survive despite massive government support. If and when that happens, that means even bigger market share for Ford in 2010.
Reason #4 – Improving Economic Trends
Ford is expecting U.S. industry sales of 11.5-12.5 million vehicles in 2010, up from 10.4 million last year. This is in large part due to improving economic conditions and growing consumer confidence. While some investors may see this as wishful thinking, I am confident signs are pointing towards recovery. The Wall Street Journal recently did a survey of 56 economists who on average expect 1.4 million new jobs will be created in 2010. There’s a lot of pent up demand for new cars, and as the labor market stabilizes I expect Ford to do brisk business.
Reason #5 – A True Global Player
Ford gets more than half of its sales outside North America and is very popular in Europe, especially with its Fiesta sub-compact car. The company is making a big push into China right now that will be very profitable in 2010. For instance, the new Ford Focus is designed to appeal to consumers in all countries but specifically targets the emerging market of China. The fact that Ford isn’t tweaking individual models in various regions of the world will not only save on costs but will also help them build a real global brand to take the company to the next level.