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Why General Motors Stock Is Up Today

By John Rosevear - Updated May 6, 2020 at 1:04PM

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A surprise first-quarter profit and news about reopening factories put investors in a good mood.

What happened

Shares of General Motors (GM 0.27%) were moving higher on Wednesday after GM reported a first-quarter profit that beat estimates and said it will reopen some of its factories in the U.S. and Canada on May 18.

As of 12:15 p.m. EDT, GM's shares were up about 5% from Tuesday's closing price.

So what

GM reported earnings before the market opened on Wednesday, and under the circumstances they were quite good. In a quarter in which both of its Detroit rivals reported losses, GM had net income of $294 million -- or $0.62 per share on an adjusted basis.

That handily beat Wall Street's consensus estimate of $0.33 per share. GM's revenue  of $32.7 billion was down 6.2% from a year ago but also beat Wall Street's $31.12 billion estimate. 

A Chevrolet Silverado HD on the assembly line at GM's Flint Assembly Plant in Flint, Michigan.

GM plans to reopen some of its factories in the U.S. and Canada on May 18, starting with its pickup-truck plants. Image source: General Motors.

GM credited much of the profit to its new pickup trucks, which were selling very well before the COVID-19 outbreak shut down much of the United States. (The company said they continued to sell quite well in April, too.) 

In further good news, GM investors who were worried about cash burn can now rest a bit easier. CFO Dhivya Suryadevara said that the company has enough cash to keep operations (including future-product efforts) going well into the fourth quarter, even if it can't restart its factories outside of China. She also noted that the capital markets remain open to GM should it choose to raise extra cash to pad its balance sheet. 

Now what

Auto investors were also glad to hear that GM will reopen some of its factories in the U.S. and Canada on May 18. It will start with one shift per day, working under extensive new safety protocols and prioritizing production of -- you guessed it -- pickups, as well as GM's new full-size SUVs. 

Suryadevara said that GM will update its full-year guidance later on, after it gets a read on demand for new vehicles once the U.S. and Canada reopen. 

John Rosevear owns shares of General Motors. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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