When is a positive earnings surprise actually a a doozy of a loss? When it's General Motors fourth quarter earnings. Confused? You aren't alone. Let me explain.
GMreported adjusted fourth quarter earnings of $46 million dollars or 8 cents a share. On the surface that's a huge upside surprise over the street estimate of GM losing 54 cents a share.
But GM's upside surprise includes a tax benefit of $1.6 billion dollars. It's the kind of surprise almost no one outside of the company could have predicted. By my calculations, if you strip out that tax benefit GM posts an adjusted loss of $2.77 a share.