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Chrysler Expected to Post Fourth-Quarter Loss

Auto maker



is expected to report a loss for the fourth quarter and miss its 2000 profit target,

The Wall Street Journal

reported this morning.

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The board of the company is reportedly meeting today in Stuttgart, Germany, and was expected to make an announcement addressing its finances, but so far the company has had no comment.

The stock was falling 6.5% to $42 in preopen trading on


, an electronic trading network, but only 500 shares had traded. DaimlerChrysler is well off its 52-week high of $78.68.

The problems with the company stem from the U.S. unit, where sales have disappointed and Chrysler head James Holden is expected to be replaced. The company has issued earnings warnings twice this year.

The news comes at a particularly bad time for Chrysler. The Big 3 U.S. automakers just announced plans to idle North American plants due to slowing auto sales. And higher energy prices could dampen enthusiasm for new cars, especially gas-guzzling SUVs, which have been among the most popular models for U.S. buyers.