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DATE News (chronologically)
01/29/11
automotive
Despite great year, Ford stock falls
Ford Motor Co. had its best year in more than a decade in 2010, but disappointing results in the final three months of the year are a reminder that Ford and the U.S. auto industry still face challenges on their road to recovery.

Ford posted a $6.6 billion profit last year, up $3.6 billion over 2009, to end a second consecutive year in the black after three years of losses. The strong results trigger profit-sharing bonuses for 40,600 factory workers that will average $5,000, the largest payout since 2000.

Still, Ford's fourth quarter profit fell 79 percent to $190 million, a decline the automaker blamed on one-time expenses, poor results in Europe and the cost of launching new products. The drop rattled Wall Street, sending Ford shares into a deep dive Friday before closing at $16.27, a loss of 13.4 percent.

Stocks took a hit Friday as fears of unrest in Egypt pushed down prices, but Ford's loss outpaced automotive rivals and the market as a whole. General Motors Co. shares fell 5.35 percent to $36.30, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 1.39 percent to 11,824.

Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally said the fourth-quarter performance should not be considered a precursor for what's to come in 2011.

"We will increase profitability and free cash flow," he promised. While the automaker will continue to face high costs in 2011, Mulally said, "our product plans remain unchanged."

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