Ford's Earnings Double

Ford ( F) reported earnings that again made a mockery of analysts' estimates Wednesday, saying net income more than doubled on a 9.3% jump in overall sales. Like General Motors ( GM) on Tuesday, Ford said higher prices for cars coming off leases helped bolster its bottom line.

Ford earned $1.95 billion, or 94 cents a share, in the latest quarter compared with earnings of $896 million, or 45 cents a share, last year. Overall revenue was $44.69 billion in the quarter compared with $40.82 billion last year.

Before special items, Ford said it earned 96 cents a share in the latest quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been forecasting earnings of 44 cents a share on revenue of $36.56 billion.

Ford's worldwide automotive segment earned a pretax $1.81 billion on a 13% jump in revenue to $38.8 billion, as overall vehicle unit sales totaled 1.79 million, up from 1.70 million last year. In North America, automotive pretax profit was $1.96 billion, up from $1.24 billion last year.

Ford Motor Credit earned $688 million in the first quarter, up from $442 million last year. The unit's financing revenue actually slipped to $3.78 billion from $4.31 billion, but the company took a vastly smaller depreciation expense on operating leases, noting it was receiving higher used vehicle prices as well benefiting from lower interest rates.

Ford raised full-year earnings guidance to a range of $1.50 to $1.60 a share from its old estimate of $1.20 to $1.30 a share, and said it expects to earn 30 cents to 35 cents a share in the second quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had been predicting $1.28 a share in the full year and 34 cents a share in the second quarter.

Shares of Ford were recently up $1.28, or 9.4%, to $14.84.

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