Ford posts earnings of 58 cents a share vs 51 cents expected

Ford Motor said Thursday that its fourth-quarter results beat Wall Street expectations, and it maintained a 2016 pretax profit forecast equal to or higher than last year.

Ford earned most of its money in the quarter in North America, where falling gasoline prices have spurred demand for large pickups, including the Ford F-150.

The automaker's stock moved higher in premarket trading immediately following the announcement. (Get the latest quote here.)

The Ford exhibit is shown on the first day of media preview days at the 2016 North American International Auto Show on January 11, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan.
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The Ford exhibit is shown on the first day of media preview days at the 2016 North American International Auto Show on January 11, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan.

The company posted fourth-quarter earnings per share of 58 cents, compared to 26 cents a share in the year-earlier period.

Revenue for the quarter came in at $40.3 billion, against the comparable year-ago figure of $33.80 billion.

Analysts had expected Ford to report adjusted earnings of about 51 cents a share on $36.40 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Ford's earnings come as the auto industry is in the midst of an upswing. Low gasoline prices, easy credit and moderate economic growth boosted the industry: Auto sales totaled a record 17.47 million in 2015 in the U.S. even as December numbers trailed expectations, according to figures from research firm Autodata.

Sales of Ford's F-Series pickup trucks rose 15 percent in December. The F-Series, led by the F-150, extended two streaks: 39 years as the best-selling truck in the United States and 34 years as the best-selling vehicle of any kind.

Before Ford announced its quarterly results, the company's stock had fallen nearly 16 percent on the year.

— Reuters contributed to this report.