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Ford is unlikely to surprise to the upside in the next year because new CEO Jim Hackett's proposals may not have a measureable impact until 2020, according to one Wall Street firm.
RBC Capital Markets on Monday reduced its rating on Ford to sector perform from outperform, saying the automaker is still "very early in the turnaround."
"A border-adjusted tax never passed and in the interim Ford changed its CEO, making the stock more of a turnaround story," wrote analyst Joseph Spak. "To that end, we believe new CEO Jim Hackett can get Ford back on an improved track, but it is very early in the turnaround story and specifics are light. To be frank, aside from some cost-cutting that may be realizable, given the lead times in auto, most of whatever Mr. Hackett proposes wouldn't have an impact until 2019 or 2020 at the earliest."
Ford's new leadership team recently announced plans to focus on Ford's most valuable products like trucks and SUVs and away from longtime staple areas like cars. The CEO also announced new cost-cutting measures, including a $10 billion reduction in material expenditure over the next five years and cutting how long it takes to develop a new vehicle by 20 percent.
Spak slashed his fiscal year December 2018 EPS estimate to $1.40, below consensus of $1.52 according to FactSet.
Shares of Ford have rallied nearly 4 percent in the past month, but the stock remains negative since January, down 0.7 percent versus the S&P 500's more than 14 percent surge. Shares of Ford were slightly lower in Monday morning trade.
The auto industry has been in the spotlight in recent years as more and more companies ramp up electric vehicle research and production. Barclays cut its own rating of Ford just last week, saying the company needs "much more work" to compete in the growing EV space.
Ford is set to report earnings on Oct. 26.