Ford posts second-highest profit in the past decade

January 28
AUTO INDUSTRY
Ford posts one of its best years in decade

Ford Motor enjoyed one of the best years in its history in 2013, but the celebration won’t last long.

The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker posted a pretax profit of $8.56 billion — the second-highest in the past decade — and worldwide sales were up 12 percent to 6.3 million cars and trucks. That was a faster pace than Toyota, the industry leader, whose sales rose 2 percent to 9.98 million.

But Ford already has warned of leaner results this year as it launches a record 23 vehicles and builds seven plants around the world.

It is anticipating 13 weeks of expensive down time — up from five in 2013 — at its two U.S. pickup truck plants to prepare for the launch of a new aluminum-clad F-150. And instability in South America and price competition in the United States are constant threats.

Ford expects pretax profit of between $7 billion and $8 billion. Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks said capital expenditures will total $7.5 billion this year and in the next two to three years, up from $6.6 billion in 2013 and more than twice what it spent four years ago.

Ford’s fourth-quarter net income totaled $3 billion, or 74 cents per share. Excluding a big tax gain, profit was 31 cents per share, 4 cents better than analyst estimates, according to FactSet.

— Associated Press

REAL ESTATE
Home prices rise sharply in November

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities rose in November from a year ago by the most in almost eight years, providing a boost to household wealth.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property prices in 20 cities climbed 13.7 percent from November 2012, the biggest 12-month gain since February 2006, after a 13.6 percent increase in the year ended in October, a report from the group showed Tuesday in New York.

A limited number of available properties is helping to sustain home-price appreciation even as higher mortgage rates cool demand and leave purchases out of reach for some Americans.

Home prices adjusted for seasonal variations rose 0.9 percent in November from October after a 1.1 percent gain the prior month. The month-over-month price gains were led by Atlanta and Miami, which showed 1.6 percent increases.

All 20 cities in the index showed a year-over-year gain, led by a 27.3 percent advance in Las Vegas. Values climbed 23.2 percent in San Francisco.

— Bloomberg News

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