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GM Lifts 2018 Profit View; Stock Up

General Motors Co. (GM) said it now expects 2018 adjusted earnings per share and adjusted automotive free cash flow to exceed the prior guidance. It also expects earnings growth in 2019, compared to projected 2018 full-year results.

GM is currently trading at $37.06, up $2.33 or 6.71 percent.

"We will continue to strengthen our core business and invest in the technologies that will transform the future of mobility. Managing both well is critical to position General Motors for success for generations to come," said Mary Barra, Chairman and Chief executive officer.

General Motors expects 2018 earnings per share-diluted-adjusted and adjusted automotive free cash flow to exceed the prior guidance. The company said in October that it forecast fiscal 2018 adjusted earnings of $5.80 to $6.20 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report earnings of $6.29 per share for 2018. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

For 2019, the company expects earnings per share diluted adjusted of between $6.50 and $7.00, and adjusted auto free cash flow of between $4.5 billion and $6 billion. Analysts expect annual earnings of $5.88 per share.

In 2019, despite a declining car market, GM expects the overall U.S. market to remain strong, projecting total industry sales in the low 17-million range.

The company noted that Cadillac will be its lead electric vehicle brand and will introduce the first model from the company's all new battery electric vehicle architecture, GM's foundation for an advanced family of profitable EVs.

General Motors expects to start launching its all-new global family of vehicles in 2019 in China, followed by America and Mexico. The first crossover model will be the Chevrolet Tracker. These vehicles are expected to capture growth in key global markets and represent one-in-ten GM vehicles sold globally by 2020.

In South America, GM has lowered its breakeven point by 40 percent, but is continuing to look for ways to improve business performance.

The company expects 2019 China industry retail sales to be in line with 2018 levels of nearly 27 million. GM China will remain agile in responding to shifting market dynamics, as it launches more than 20 all-new or refreshed vehicles in 2019. Those new products include compact cars and crossovers from GM's new global vehicle family, and new-energy vehicles.

Cruise is progressing toward commercializing s e l f - d r i v i n g v e h i c l e s i n a d e n s e u r b a n environment this year. The company is deeply resourced to succeed, with more than 1,100 employees, a new office in Seattle, and $5 billion in external capital raised since May 2018.

In November, GM announced steps to position the company for long-term success. As a result, by year end 2020, GM expects to realize about $6 billion in cash savings. In the U.S., as a result of continued growth of crossovers and trucks, the company will be able to provide approximately 2,700 positions to the 2,800 active hourly workers impacted by the November announcement.

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