General Motors (GM) earnings Q4 2021

A General Motors sign is seen during an event on January 25, 2022 in Lansing, Michigan. – General Motors will create 4,000 new jobs and retaining 1,000, and significantly increasing battery cell and electric truck manufacturing capacity.

Jeff Kowalsky | AFP | Getty Images

General Motors said it expects to generate an operating profit this year of between $13 billion and $15 billion as a semi-conductor shortage that marred automaker earnings for most of last year shows signs of improving.

The forecast is in line with many Wall Street analysts’ expectations as well as the company’s $14.3 billion earnings in 2021.

“With an improving outlook for semiconductors in the U.S. and China, we expect our 2022 results will remain strong,” CEO Mary Barra said in a letter to shareholders, saying it’s earnings will be “at or near record levels.”

The guidance was announced as the Detroit automaker reported fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday that beat Wall Street’s expectations despite slightly missing on revenue.

Here’s how GM performed, compared with analysts’ estimates as compiled by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted EPS: $1.35 vs $1.19 expected
  • Revenue: $33.58 billion vs $34.01 billion expected

Shares of the automaker declined by more than 3% during after-hours trading.

The adjusted earnings per share would be GM’s smallest of the year. It also would be down from $1.93 from the fourth quarter of 2020, when parts suppliers started warning of a potential shortage of semiconductor chips that led to significant disruptions in vehicle production last year.

GM reported an adjusted pretax profit of $3.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020. Revenue was $37.5 billion during that quarter.

While investors will monitor GM’s quarterly results, their focus will be more on the automaker’s guidance for this year. Analyst expectations are for GM and other automakers to release conservative earnings estimates for 2022 due to the chip shortage and other outside factors, such as inflation.

“In our view, the single biggest risk to our volume forecasts is that the broader economic environment and health/confidence of the consumer remains very much unclear,” BofA Securities analyst John Murphy said in a recent investor note.

After rising 40% in 2021, GM’s shares fell 10% in January. The stock closed Monday at $52.73 a share, up by 5%.

GM’s stock has a buy rating and a price target of $76.07 a share, according to average analysts’ estimates compiled by FactSet.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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