General Motors reported its first quarterly profit in two years Wednesday morning, posting a gain of nearly $1 billion for the fourth quarter of 2006. But there was a gray cloud in GM's silver lining as the results came in well below expectations.By the numbers, the world's largest automaker earned $950 million including $770 million in special items, largely resulting from its sale of a majority stake in its financing arm GMAC. Without those one-time proceeds, the company still would have earned $180 million in the quarter, good for EPS of $0.32, versus a loss of $6.6 billion, or a loss of $11.63 per share in the year earlier period. Revenue fell slightly to $51.2 billion compared with $51.7 billion a year earlier. Analysts were expecting profit of between $1.19 (First Call) and $1.20 (Reuters) per share. CEO Rick Wagoner said that despite turning a profit, "there is still a lot more work to do." CFO Fritz Henderson refused to provide specific guidance saying only that GM's year-over-year performance will continue to improve in 2007. Shares were down $0.32, or 1.05%, to $30.19 in pre-market action.
• Sources: Press Release, AP, Reuters, TheStreet.com, CNN Money
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• Stocks and ETFs to watch: General Motors (GM). Competitors: DaimlerChrysler (DCX), Ford (F), Toyota (TM), Honda (HMC), Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY)
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