) -- At $10 a share, is the party over for
? Or is it just getting started?
Ford stock hit a 52-week high Wednesday, capping a dramatic year for the automaker. In intraday trading, shares reached $10.11, surpassing a 52-week high of $9.90 and marking the first time in more than four years that shares had surpassed $10.
At midafternoon, they were trading at $10.06, up 16 cents. For the year, Ford shares have gained about 330%. Shares started the year at $2.30 and fell to $1.50 in March, as competitors headed for bankruptcy filings.
During the year, Ford soared past competitors in brand image; boosted market share; reduced incentive spending; saw its residual values soar; and reported a $1 billion third-quarter profit.
Still, the share-price gain did not provoke uniform glee. Rather, Standard & Poor's analyst Efraim Levy downgraded his opinion on the automaker to sell from hold. "The shares are above our $9 price target," Levy wrote.
Nevertheless, Levy applauded Ford's confirmation that it has substantially agreed to sell
. The move "does contrast with
failure to sell various assets," he wrote, adding that, "Some initial continuing of cooperation between Ford and Volvo is likely, but we expect Ford to focus more on improving and marketing its core brands."
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.