Ford Favored Over GM by UBS


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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Ford ( F) has been added to UBS' key calls list as it is believed to be a "leveraged play" on rebounding U.S. auto sales.

"Ford's ability to gain share in 2011 is a cornerstone of our buy rating and our more favorable view of the stock vs. GM ( GM)," UBS analyst Colin Langan said in an equity research report published Monday.

BorgWarner ( BWA), however, was removed from UBS' key calls list after a strong run in share price performance. But it continues to be rated a buy by UBS, with price target of $82.

Langan said he expects Ford to add another 50 basis points in market share this year, on top of the 120 basis points gain last year. He has attributed most the gain to Explorer sales, with addition of 40 basis points; the Fiesta, with addition of 30 basis points; the new Focus, with gain of 20 basis points. He estimates that these increases will partially be offset by the phasing out of the Mercury, with loss of 30 basis points.

In light of all this, Langan has raised his 2011 earnings per share estimate for Ford to $2.35 from $2.20, 2012 estimate to $2.15 from $2, and 2013 estimate to $2.40 from $2.25.

UBS reiterates its buy rating for Ford and raises the price target for the stock to $21 from $19.

On Thursday, Ford unveiled its new Focus Electric both at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and in New York. It is one of five new advanced lithium-ion battery-powered vehicles scheduled to be rolled out in North America and Europe by 2013 and is expected, according to Ford, to offer better miles per gallon usage than GM's Chevy Volt and require half the charging time of the Nissan ( NSANY) Leaf.

Shares of Ford are down 0.1% at $18.25 in late morning trading and GM is down 0.7% to $38.69. Nissan has fallen 0.4% to $20.48.
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-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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