In its continuing effort to distinguish itself from its peers, Ford ( symbol) has hit another milestone. Ford said Monday that it had shed $9.9 billion in debt through tenders for $3.4 billion of unsecured non-convertible debt securities, $4.3 billion of convertible notes and $2.2 billion in term debt. Ford is using $2.4 billion in cash and 468 million shares of stock to reduce its debt, which stood at $25.8 billion at the end of 2008. In early afternoon trading Monday, Ford shares were up about 13% or 42 cents to $3.67. Shares in General Motors ( GM) were up 14 cents to $2.24. The only Detroit automaker that has not sought a government bailout, Ford said last week that its retail market share was the highest since December 2006, and that its retail share performance between October 2008 and March 2009 was the strongest of any major manufacturer, compared with the same period a year earlier. In a report Monday, Standard & Poor's analyst Efraim Levy wrote that while the debt reduction is positive, it will result in dilution of the stock. "We still project sizable losses at Ford in '09" and the company may eventually be forced to seek government loans, Levy said, noting that "Ford still faces the challenges of lower '09 global demand, including our projected 21% decline in U.S. industry light vehicle sales."