Ford (F) is an interesting company. Every time I search for Ford in a financial website or a blog, I see nothing but positive opinions about the company. Everyone is bullish for Ford, and everyone thinks it's undervalued.
For example, the last 10 articles written on Seeking Alpha about Ford are titled: "Ford's $4.90 EPS, $20 Billion Net Income Bests Its Peers", "Why Ford Shares Are Poised To Gain Over 50%", "Ford's Credit Gets A Boost", "Ford Will Skyrocket On Small Car Focus", "Ford Ready To Soar On New Green Vehicles", "Ford Ready To Explode On New Product Lines This Summer", "Why It's Time To Own Ford", "Ford: A Highly Undervalued Stock Worth $17", "Ford's New Electric Focus Will Shoot Stock Higher In 2013", "A Bullish Trading Opportunity On Ford."
It's been very rare to see a financial website/blog and see a negative article about Ford in the last year or so. Yet, the company's stock price doesn't reflect all this optimism around the company. Why is that?
When determining a stock's share price, sentiments take over in the short term, and fundamentals take over in the long term. Ford seems to have both going on for it, positive sentiments and solid fundamentals; however its shares refuse to go up. I think this has to do most with the macro economy and the worries surrounding it.
Not long ago, when US was in recession, Ford's share price plunged down to $1.50. Cars are expensive items, and when economy slows down, people hold off on buying new cars. Many investors are still not sure whether the economy will slow down or not, and this is reflected in almost every car company's share price.
Currently car companies such as Ford, GM (GM) and Volkswagen (VLKAY.PK) are enjoying all time low P/E values. I believe that Ford could easily be worth $16 per share, but I don't think it will actually see this price until the uncertainties in the economy are removed. When investors get completely confident about the macro economy, Ford will definitely see a rally.
Currently Ford is paying off its debt (slowly but surely), the company's leadership is well-respected in the investor community, has plenty of cash, had its debt-grade recently upgraded, solid growth prospects particularly in China, India and Russia. Higher gas prices continue to fuel demand for the newer and more gas-efficient cars of this company.
It looks like Ford learned many lessons from its near-bankruptcy in 2009, and the company will make sure this never happens again. On a negative note, lately Ford hasn't been performing that well in South America and Europe due, to stiff competition in the former and a slowing economy in the latter.
Ford's current beta value is 1.5. Technically speaking, in order for us to see Ford trading at $15 dollars per share, we'd have to see S&P 500 trading well above 1,500. A few months ago, I was one of the very few authors suggesting that Ford's stock price wouldn't change much in the short term. I don't think it will happen this year, but it should happen in a couple years if the economy is strong.
In conclusion, I am bullish on Ford; however I don't see it rallying anytime soon unless the company beats expectations by large margin. Ford's stock recovery will, rather, happen on a longer time horizon. Those invested in Ford should be patient to see return on their investment.
Disclosure: I am long F.