Ford shares plunge on profit concerns

Ford (F) shares crashed Monday after the automaker gave a profit warning that disappointed investors.

The company's stock slid 7.5 percent to $15.11, and continued to fall in after-hours trading, after executives gave a presentation at its Investor Day conference near its headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.

While Ford had plenty of good news to offer, including climbing revenue and a lighter, stronger F-150 debuting this year, Wall Street zeroed in on the negatives. The company continues to lose money in Europe, for example, and estimates a loss of $1.2 billion before taxes there this year. The loss should improve to $250 million next year. A larger-than-expected loss was also forecast for South America.

Margins were also a focus. Ford said its operating margins for its North American business will come in at the low end of its previously established range of 8 percent to 9 percent. That's down from margins of 10.2 percent last year.

Recalls are becoming more of a financial drain as well. The recall announced Friday of 850,000 Ford vehicles for airbag issues, for example, will cost some $500 million.

Ford shares had been flat for most of the trading day at about $16.50, but took a sharp dive after 3 p.m., erasing all the gains they had made since early June. The stock is down to nearly the $15.42 level it started the year at.

The company did share good news about other regions of the world, particularly Asia-Pacific, where it expects sales to rise to between 51 million and 53 million by 2020. That's up from an estimated 40 million to 42 million next year.

Executives also have high hopes for the new F-150 pickup made of aluminum, which is expected to go on sale soon. The new Ford Mustang 2015, due out in October for a starting price of $24,425, is also getting plenty of advance buzz. Both vehicles are expected to improve future operating results.

  • Kim Peterson

    Kim Peterson is a financial journalist covering business and the economy. She has written for several online and print publications, including MSN Money and The Seattle Times.