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GM Does Better Than Expected

General Motors reported stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings and record revenue on Thursday.

The world's No. 1 auto maker posted income from continuing operations of $877 million, or $1.33 cents per share, vs. a loss of $309 million, or 52 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

The latest number beat the consensus forecast of $1.24 cents per share in a survey of 14 brokers by First Call.

Third-quarter revenue totaled $42.8 billion, the corporation's highest third-quarter figure ever. The company rang up $33.5 billion in a quarter affected by last year's strike.

Shares of General Motors fell 7/16 to 64 11/16 on Thursday.

GM's North America unit gained 81 percent in net income after adjusting last year's third-quarter results to exclude the strike-related impact.

GMAC's results grew 25 percent over the year-ago period.

John F. Smith, Jr.

"Our strong cash position allowed us to continue funding new product programs, invest in plant and equipment improvements and take advantage of growth opportunities," GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John F. Smith, Jr. said in a statement.

During the third quarter and through Oct. 13, GM repurchased 5.7 million shares stock worth $386 million.

Since January 1997, GM has repurchased about 117.7 million shares worth $7.5 billion, or about 15.6 percent of the total shares outstanding.

"Despite continuing intense competitive pressures, GM North America had by far its best third quarter financial results of the decade," said GM President and Chief Operating Officer G. Richard Wagoner, Jr. "The improved availability of our popular new cars and trucks drove a two percentage-point improvement in U.S. market share from July to September," he said.

By Steve Gelsi

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