The same "external factors" that weighed down Ford's ( F) second-quarter financial performance will be apparent when General Motors ( GM) lays bare its own results on Wednesday morning.
But investors will be more focused on GM's internal factors. How much does the automaker expect to save as a result of its historic buyout offer to employees? How much cash will it have when it completes the sale of its financing arm, GMAC? Will the company enter into an alliance with Renault and Nissan, and if so, what form would the partnership take? "I don't think anyone is going to be too concerned with what happens with GM in this particular quarter," says Morningstar analyst John Novak. "Most people are expecting better results than last year, but still lackluster numbers. Everyone is going to be keyed in on where they stand with respect to their restructuring program." On the bottom line, GM will post a big loss due to one-time charges of around $3.84 billion, or $6.90 a share, related to its employee buyout program. About 35,000 hourly workers accepted the automaker's offer to take financial incentives and leave the company, exceeding GM's projections. Excluding charges, analysts expect GM to report earnings of 52 cents a share, based on an average estimate by Thomson First Call. While individual projections vary from earnings of $1.11 a share down to 18 cents a share, no one is expecting the kind of red ink that GM oozed last year when it posted a second-quarter loss from operations of 56 cents a share. Wall Street also anticipates a superior performance to Ford, which last week reported a loss of $123 million, or 7 cents a share, for the second quarter. That compares to earnings of $946 million, or 47 cents a share, a year earlier. Adjusted for items, including a charge related to job cuts, Ford recorded a loss from continuing operations of $48 million, or 3 cents a share. To view Farnoosh Torabi's video take on GM, click here .