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Ford earnings top Wall Street forecast

DEARBORN, Mich. Ford (F) earned $1.6 billion in the fourth quarter as sales rose in every region outside Europe.

Ford's net income fell from $13.6 billion in the same quarter last year, but that figure included a big accounting-related gain. Without that gain, Ford's earnings were up from $1 billion in the fourth quarter of last year.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker earned 31 cents per share, up from an adjusted 20 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2011. That beat analysts' forecast of 25 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Fourth-quarter revenue rose 5 percent to $36.5 billion, beating analysts' forecast of $33.5 billion.

For the full year, Ford earned $5.7 billion, or $1.42 per share. That was down $300 million from 2011.

Ford's pretax profit in North America rose by $1 billion in the fourth quarter to $1.87 billion. For the year, the division had a record pretax profit of $8.34 billion and the company expects to improve on that this year. Sales of cars and trucks in the U.S. totaled 14.5 billion in 2012 -- the industry's best performance in five years. Forecasts are for an even better 2013, with the Polk auto research firm forecasting 15.3 million vehicle sales as the economy continues to improve.

Shares rose 12 cents to $13.90 in premarket trading.

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