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Earnings Preview: Ford sees Q4 production of 1.5M units

Ford (F) is expected to report Q4 earnings on Tuesday, January 29 before the market open with a conference call scheduled for 9:00 am ET. Ford is a manufacturer of cars and trucks... EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for EPS of 26c on revenue of $32.96B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is 13c-30c on revenue of $31.09B-$34.03B... LAST QUARTER: Ford reported Q3 EPS of 40c against estimates for 30c on revenue of $32.1B against estimates for $31.07B. On its Q3 earnings report, the company forecast Q4 production at 1.5M units, reflecting higher volume in all regions except Europe. Going forward, it expected significantly higher pre-tax operating profit and margin in North America. Management reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining its competitive cost structure as it grows the North American business. However, on November 14 at a Barclays conference, the company noted that Q4 North American margins would not be as strong as Q3’s. Despite the negative sentiment, Ford doubled its dividend on January 10 to 10c from 5c per share, a clear signal management expects strong cash flows going forward... STREET RESEARCH: Street research has been mixed in the weeks leading up to Ford's Q4 earnings report. On November 20 and January 23, Ford was downgraded by Standpoint Research and Deutsche Bank, respectively. Goldman Sachs upgraded Ford’s shares on January 11, while J.P. Morgan and Sterne Agee raised their price targets to $15 and $17, respectively... PRICE ACTION: Ford's shares have rallied approximately 40% since Q3’s results were released in late October, recently making a fresh 52-week high of $14.30. In early afternoon trading ahead of Tuesday's Q4 report, Ford’s shares are up over 1% to $13.74.