UPDATE 2-Ford may need to access govt aid in late '09: Barclays

lunes 2 de febrero de 2009 12:08 CET

(Adds analyst comments on GM, background)

Feb 2 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N: Cotización) may need to access U.S. government aid in late 2009, an analyst at Barclays Capital said on Monday, just days after the automaker said it would have the cash to survive the worst downturn in auto sales in a decade without a state bailout.

Analyst Brian Johnson downgraded the U.S. automaker's stock to "underweight" from "equal-weight" and cut his price target on the stock to $1 from $4, citing cash concerns and an increase in the company's net debt.

The analyst also forecast a fourth-quarter loss for Ford's rival General Motors Corp (GM.N: Cotización) and cut his price target on the stock to 50 cents from $1. Johnson has an "underweight" rating on GM shares.

The analyst expects GM's fourth-quarter results to reflect continued headwinds from weak demand in North America, but said he was more concerned about the quick deterioration in international markets.

Ford's results last week were a reflection of just how quickly non-U.S. markets have deteriorated, Johnson said. He noted that the company had reported an international automotive operating loss of $1.1 billion compared with his estimate of a $0.3 billion profit.

The analyst estimates GM's automotive loss to total $4.3 billion and expects the struggling automaker to burn through $3.1 billion as production was down significantly across all regions in the fourth quarter.

He expects GM to post a loss of $6.18 a share in the quarter, while according to Reuters Estimates, analysts on average are expecting a loss of $7.18 a share.

"With international segments no longer offsetting North America losses, we expect investor focus to remain on GM's cash levels and how the company expects to minimize future cash burn," Johnson said.   Continuación...