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Stock Analyst Update

GM's Solid Quarter Does Not Bring Any New Concerns

We see more upside to GM over time as the company continues to reduce costs, buy back stock and pay dividends.


We are not changing our  General Motors (GM) fair value estimate following second-quarter results, which were the first to report GM Europe in discontinued operations. Management didn't update the timing of the GME sale, so it remains on track to close by year-end.

GM once again shredded consensus earnings per share, reporting adjusted diluted EPS of $1.89 versus $1.69 consensus. But revenue declined 1.1% year over year to $37 billion and missed consensus of $40.2 billion, mostly due to an 11% fall in North American wholesale volume as GM pulled back on fleet sales.

Consolidated adjusted EBIT margin fell 30 basis points but still was a healthy 10%. Adjusted EBIT fell 4.3% to $3.7 billion as favorable mix and pricing along with continued cost-cutting efforts fell short of offsetting a $900 million headwind from lower volume and a $200 million currency headwind from the weaker Mexican peso and Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar. A $400 million increase in capital expenditures and the slight decline in earnings led to adjusted automotive free cash flow of $2.6 billion, down about $700 million from the year-ago quarter.

CFO Chuck Stevens' comments at an analyst event in late June suggested to us a guidance increase could be coming when GM reported results in July, but management maintained 2017 EPS guidance of $6.00-$6.50. We continue to model $6.36.

We are not worried that guidance is unchanged; we see more upside to GM coming over time as the company continues to reduce selling, general, and administrative costs through 2018, and it will buy back about $5 billion of stock in 2017, about 10% of its market capitalization, while also paying $2.2 billion in dividends.

GM did not repurchase stock in the first quarter but spent $1.5 billion in the second quarter. The third quarter will be the weakest of 2017 as plant shutdowns are needed to curb excess car segment inventory, but there are still three new crossovers to launch this year: Traverse, Enclave, and Terrain.

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David Whiston does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.