by Kyle Woodley | February 16, 2012 4:46 pm
General Motors (NYSE:GM) made a splash with its earnings report Thursday, and the automaker sector as a whole helped celebrate.
GM posted its largest annual profit in history — $7.6 billion, which was up 62% from the year-ago period. Revenues also were up 11%. The fourth quarter was less impressive, with earnings flat at $500 million and adjusted EPS 2 cents shy of Wall Street estimates. But the banner day still was enough to send GM shares up 9% by the end of trading.
The rest of the sector followed suit. Ford (NYSE:F) gained almost 3%, Volkswagen (PINK:VLKAY) was up 1.7%, and Honda (NYSE:HMC) and Toyota (NYSE:TM) each rose more than 1%. Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) also gained ground Thursday, up 1.7% after a mixed earnings report but encouraging 2012 forecasts. The company also is riding high on the strong reception for its Model X crossover.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) was hit hard Thursday morning after its shares were downgraded by Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS). AMZN shed about 5% before recovering for a final 2.5% loss. Morgan Stanley’s primary were concerns were threats from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and growing weakness in sales of physical media.
Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) finished up less than a percent after the company announced its 50th consecutive annual dividend increase. Coca-Cola raised its quarterly dividend 8.5%, to 51 cents, and will be payable April 1 to shareholders of record as of March 15. KO shares now yield roughly 3%.
Kyle Woodley is the assistant editor of InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Check out recaps from previous trading days here.
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