The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) was trading 136 points lower, or 0.85%, by midafternoon after escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine once again grabbed investors' attention.
"Ukraine is starting to weigh on the market after being ignored for so long. I don't think it will be a long-lasting issue, and it creates opportunities in the oil and gas space, but we were overbought yesterday, so it is another reason for investors to take profits," said Chris Bertelsen, chief investment officer of Global Financial Private Capital, according to Reuters.
Despite those concerns, consumer sentiment in the U.S. rose to 84.1 in April, up from March's 80 mark and hitting the highest level since last July, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index. With that in mind, here are some companies making headlines today.
Investors were selling Ford (NYSE: F ) today, sending its stock price 3.3% lower. The sell-off came after the company released first-quarter results that showed profit falling 39% from last year's first quarter.
Ford posted net income of $989 million, or $0.24 per share, which was well below 2013's $1.6 billion and $0.40 per share. Those figures were also below Wall Street expectation of $0.31 per share, according to the consensus analyst estimate from Bloomberg.
The culprits behind Ford's less than exhilarating quarterly performance were big one-time expenses. Ford claimed harsh winter weather raised costs by about $100 million, and it also had an accounting charge of about $400 million due to reserves held for possible future warranty and recall costs.
Although Ford's EPS was lower than investors would like, there were plenty of positive takeaways from the company's first quarter.
Europe has long been a drag on Ford's profits, but the company continues to make strong progress on its goal to turn a profit on the continent next year. Ford lost $194 million in Europe during the first quarter, which is a $231 million improvement over last year's $425 million loss. Through the first quarter Ford's wholesale volume and revenue jumped 11% and 18%, respectively. The company's market share also moved 30 basis points higher year over year to 8%.
Also abroad, Ford's big investment in China is paying off, which is pulling its Asia-Pacific profit higher. In fact, Ford reversed last year's $28 million loss to a cool $291 million profit in the first quarter. Wholesale volume was up 32% from a year ago and net revenue grew 19%.
While some Ford investors are heading to the door today because of lower profitability, I think it's far too early to give up on the Blue Oval. This year is an expected speed bump as the company gears up to freshen its lineup with 23 new or significantly refreshed models across the globe, the most launches in one year ever for Ford.
In other automotive news, you can't buy a Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ) Model S in New Jersey, but you can charge the vehicle there. Today Tesla unveiled its 100th supercharger in its fight to grow electric-vehicle infrastructure in the United States.
"By the end of next year, 98 percent of Americans will be 100 miles or less from a supercharger," said James Chen, Tesla vice president of regulatory affairs, according to NJ.com. "The superchargers we've put in place have saved over a half million gallons of gasoline, that's 14 million miles supercharged. ... In the last week alone, we've had 5,000 vehicles come by and supercharge at one of our stations."
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