General Motors (NYSE:GM) earnings plummeted during the last quarter due to weak sales in overseas markets. The Detroit-based company earned $1 billion, or 60 cents a share, in the January through March quarter, down from $3.2 billion, $1.77 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding a goodwill writedown, GM made 93 cents a share. Analysts had expected earnings of 85 cents a share.
A warm winter and perceived improvement in the U.S. economy boosted demand at home, with GM North America posting $1.7 billion in EBIT, a $400 million increase from the year-ago period. As Americans release some pent-up demand for cars as the economy makes headway, GM expects second and third quarter results will likely match last year’s results.
Results prompted GM to increase its expectations for U.S. sales of light vehicles to between 14 and 14.5 million, from 13.5 million to 14 million. But outside the U.S., automakers are struggling. GM Europe posted a $300 million loss after breaking even in 2011, while South American growth was flat.
All told, revenue rose to $37.8 billion, up from $36.2 billion a year earlier. Analysts had expected sales to increase to $37.5 billion. GM shares were trading up 1.40 percent this morning in pre-market trading.
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