Time to Focus on General Motors

By Dmitriy Gurkovskiy, Chief Analyst at RoboMarkets

As earnings season continues, analysts have been bewildered by General Motors’ (NYSE: GM) report.  Over the last year, GM shares became 35% cheaper, while income was mixed, both rising and falling, and net profit turned positive only in late 2018.

The GM stock price has been under pressure, most likely because of rising debt. General Motors went bankrupt in 2009, liquidating all previous debts, but new ones started appearing soon. The debt-equity ratio reached 1.93 ever since, making it a serious question whether or not to invest in such a company that had previously been bankrupt.

Since the second IPO in 2010, GM shares have been unable to overcome the 30% rise barrier, while the DJIA rose by over 100% over the same period. This made interest in GM quite low.

With ever-growing debt and shareholder pressure, the company had to cut expenses, and this was done through cutting jobs and closing factories in various countries. For instance, the GM Korea factory is likely to get closed, with over 2,000 jobs cut. Another factory, located in Saint Petersburg, Russia may be closed, too. Meanwhile, in North America, around 36% of jobs were cut.

Overall, the former multinational giant is leaving the markets in Europe, Indonesia, Thailand, India and Australia. The company may end up present only in the US and China.

Naturally, running a company with multiple branches in multiple countries is much harder than the one working in a single country. A good example is Tesla, which in 2008 was saved by a single contract with SpaceX (both owned by Elon Musk) worth $1.8B, while General Motors was unable to do with even $30B.

After the 2008 crisis, US automotive companies faced serious issues. Ford Motor, for example, has not shown any good results ever since, and is still trading at its 2010 lows.

Nevertheless, in mid 2018, Warren Buffet’s fund disclosed information on its Q2 portfolio that included Apple (Buffet said he would like to control 100% of Apple shares), Goldman Sachs, Teva, Delta Airlines and General Motors. If GM is on this list, other investors might also want focus on it.

Meanwhile, in Q2, GM shares rose sharply by 10%, which was the result of an agreement between General Motors and an investment fund run by SoftBank Group, the Japanese telecommunication giant. The fund invested $2.25B into the autonomous taxi development led by a part of GM team.

Thus, Q2 was overall positive for GM, and while the stock price did not increase significantly, the net profit did. As a result, the Q3 report was great, beating all expectations.

The net profit in Q3 reached $2.53B, or $1.75 EPS, against the $2.98B loss, or -$2.03, reported last year. The yearly EPS is expected at somewhere between $5.80 and $6.20, though GM management assumes it could be even higher.

Around 86% of net profit comes from the North American market, while only 14% covers the rest of the world. This is quite in line with the company’s policy regarding closing its regional branches.

Meanwhile, car production was lowered by 14.70% compared to last year, but GM succeeded thanks to the price increase and truck sales, where the yield is higher.

Technically, the price is still below the 200-day SMA, which may push values to the descending trend line which was broken out thanks to the positive report. If the price then bounces, it may rise above $40. GM management’s prediction on beating the yearly profit expectations may be priced quite soon, while then the yearly report comes, the price may head down. The Buy Rumors, Sell Facts rule may well work here.

Disclaimer

Any predictions contained herein are based on the authors’ particular opinion. This analysis shall not be treated as trading advice. RoboMarkets shall not be held liable for the results of the trades arising from relying upon trading recommendations and reviews contained herein.

Having majored in both Social Psychology and Economics, I went on to continue my education in post graduate. Later I worked as a team lead of a tech and fundamental analysis lab in the Applied System Analysis Research Institute. This helped me to acquire all necessary skills and experience to become a successful trader and analyst, as well as a portfolio manager in an investment company. I'm a pro in the financial field and the author of articles for various international media. I also hold the position of Chief Analyst at RoboMarkets.