GM Quarterly Earnings Exceed Expectations

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Even facing economic headwinds in Europe and South America, GM's quarterly earnings came in well above analysts' estimates, and its stock soared.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

General Motors earned $1.5 billion in the third quarter. While that's less than the company made a year ago, at this time, it's a whole lot better than some investors expected. And as Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, the company's stock soared on the news.

TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: While the debate about the wisdom of the auto bailout remains a stubborn fixture on the presidential campaign trail, General Motors has been working hard to maximize its profits. And that work seems to be paying off.

Dan Ammann is GM's chief financial officer. He says despite a big competitor - like Toyota - bouncing back in North America, and a crippling recession in Europe, and a slowing Chinese economy...

DAN AMMANN: We grew revenue, grew profits, grew margins, grew cash flow.

SAMILTON: In fact, GM made money everywhere except Europe.

AMMANN: This is much more than just a North America story. It's really, you know, a global story.

SAMILTON: GM's stock rose nearly 10 percent, on the news. Gary Bradshaw is a portfolio manager with Hodges Capital, and says investors figured GM would earn 60 cents per share, in the third quarter. The company earned 90 cents, and its revenue was nearly $2 billion more than expected.

GARY BRADSHAW: I think investors are encouraged that that momentum will continue.

SAMILTON: While Bradshaw hasn't bought any GM stock for his clients' portfolios yet, he's thinking about it. He figures GM's stock could double in the next couple of years. At that rate, GM's biggest shareholder, the U.S. Treasury, could eventually break even - if there's enough political patience in the White House.

For NPR News, I'm Tracy Samilton in Ann Arbor.

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