If there's ever a time to expect Ford shares to surge to a 52-week high, it could be after the automaker reports second quarter earnings Wednesday morning.
The Wall Street consensus is for Ford to earn $0.37 a share, up 22 percent vs. 2Q '12, on revenue of $35.24 billion, up 12 percent vs. 2Q '12, but analysts are already whispering that we should expect more.
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How much more?
Morgan Stanley's estimate is for Ford to earn $0.41/share on revenue of $37.6 billion. The optimism from Morgan Stanley and other analysts is based on a variety of factors, but a few in particular stand out.
- Higher North American Production
The preliminary estimate from Ward's Automotive of Ford's North American production is 820,000 vehicles, slightly higher than some analysts projected a few months ago. In particular, Ford has been squeezing out more F-Series pickups to keep up with the surging demand for pickups in the U.S..
- Trucks Driving Big N.A. Revenue/Profit
Look for a big number in North America as Ford reaps the benefit of picking up share and leveraging its strength in trucks. This year, Ford's market share is up 0.07 percent while its chief competitors are either flat or up only fractionally. Remember, Ford's profit-per-truck is, by some estimates, on average $10,000.
- Steady Improvement in Europe
Ford will likely still post a sizable loss in Europe, but the train is headed in the right direction as the company's restructuring in the continent starts to accelerate. Sales are picking up in Europe ever so slightly, so there is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Bottom line: Don't be surprised if Ford beats the Street. The question is whether investors think 2Q is finally the quarter when they've seen enough to push Ford past its 52-week high of $17.29.
Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com.