Ford's ( F) second-quarter earnings tripled from a year ago on a 5% increase in revenue, as the company's lending division more than salvaged its money-losing automotive operations.

Ford earned $1.17 billion, or 57 cents a share, in the three months to June 30, compared with earnings of $417 million, or 22 cents a share, last year. Automotive revenue totaled $36.7 billion in the latest quarter compared with $34.1 billion a year ago.

On a continuing-operations basis, Ford earned $1.3 billion, or 61 cents a share, in the most recent quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been forecasting continuing earnings of 50 cents a share on revenue of $36.55 million in the most recent quarter.

Looking ahead, Ford forecast third-quarter continuing operations ranging from breakeven to a profit of 5 cents a share and full-year continuing operations of $1.80 to $1.90 a share. Analysts were forecasting earnings of 15 cents a share in the third quarter and earnings of $1.94 a share for the full year.

In the latest quarter, Ford's global automotive operations lost $57 million before taxes, including special items that reduced income by $140 million. Excluding items, pretax automotive profits were $83 million in the latest quarter, up from $3 million a year ago.

By region, Ford's North American operations earned a pretax $455 million in the second quarter, up $10 million from a year ago; Ford's European operations lost a pretax $151 million in the second quarter, compared with a loss of $359 million a year ago; and Ford's Asia Pacific operations earned a pretax $55 million in the second quarter, compared with $17 million a year ago.

As is the case at both of the U.S.'s big auto companies, Ford makes most of its profits by lending money for cars to homes. Ford Motor Credit's earnings more than doubled in the 2004 quarter from a year ago to $897 million, reflecting improved credit losses, higher used car prices and the continuing impact of low interest rates.

Ford's stock, which is down 5% on the year, closed Monday at $14.98.

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