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remains comfortable with earnings projections for the first quarter, but the automaker didn't give specific guidance for the full year.

The current consensus estimate listed on

Thomson Financial/First Call

is 54 cents a share, based on a survey of 16 analysts. The company earned 90 cents in the year-ago quarter.

Earlier this month, Ford said it was comfortable with Wall Street's consensus earnings estimate of 51 cents for the first quarter. That estimate has since been raised by analysts who follow the company.

In a document filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

, Jacques Nasser, Ford's chief executive, said he was "not expressing any comfort level" with the full-year estimate.The consensus profit estimate is currently $2.57 for 2001.

A Ford spokesman cautioned that Nasser's words shouldn't be construed as any level of discomfort with the estimate. Instead, the company is simply not giving guidance for the year, in large part because it's too early to offer a projection.

Shares of Ford, which is based in Dearborn, Mich., gained 26 cents, or 0.9%, to $28.20 in recent trading on the

New York Stock Exchange