GM's Net Income Drops 14%: Ahead of the Ticker

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- General Motors ( GM) posted a 14% drop in net income in the first quarter, yet still reported stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings on Thursday.

GM earned $865 million, or 58 cents a share, down from $1 billion, or 60 cents a share, in the same period last year. Excluding items, GM earned 67 cents a share, beating analysts' forecast for earnings of 54 cents, according to Thomson Reuters.

Weaker volume and reduced vehicle prices led to the drop in net income.

GM's North American unit reported better-than-expected operating profit of $1.41 billion, surpassing estimates of $1.21 billion. The company's earnings in North America are still down 12.5% from a year ago on reduced shipments of pickup trucks ahead of GM's launch of the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

GM's $175 million loss in Europe was also narrower than the $469 million loss analysts expected, according to FactSet StreetAccount.

The Silverado and Sierra are among the company's most profitable vehicles. They are expected to go on sale in a few weeks.


Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Peter Voser is stepping down in an unexpected move.

Voser will retire from the company in the first half of 2014. He said he made the decision as he felt it was time for a "change in my lifestyle."

Shell said it will consider both internal and external candidates to replace Voser.

Shares of Shell have climbed nearly 50% since Voser became CEO in July 2009.The news comes as Shell reported better-than-expected first-quarter profit that rose 3% from a year ago to $7.5 billion. The results were driven by improved profit margins in the company's refining and marketing unit.

"These results were underpinned by Shell's growth projects, an improvement in downstream profitability, and were delivered despite a difficult security environment in Nigeria," Voser said.

Looking ahead, Voser said there continues to be "significant" energy price volatility in the industry due to economic and political challenges.


Ford ( F) is planning to invest $1.1 billion on plant expansion and also create thousands of new jobs.

Ford plans to invest the money on expanding its Kansas City assembly plant in Missouri, which produces F-150 pick-up trucks. The company noted that as customer demand for the Ford F-150 is strong and growing, it plans to add 2,000 workers to produce a new Transit commercial van and the F-150. One thousand of the jobs will be new hires and 900 will will make up a new third shift that will begin in this third quarter of 2013.

The new generation of the F-150 will be lighter than previous models, due to the use of a lighter-weight steel. The revamped trucks will appear in showrooms for the 2015 model year.

Ford said it is three-quarters of the way to reaching its goal to create 12,000 U.S. hourly jobs by 2015.


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-- Written by Brittany Umar.

Brittany joined TheStreet.com TV in November 2006 after completing a degree in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers College. Previously, Brittany interned at the local ABC affiliate in New York City WABC-TV 7 where she helped research and produce On Your Side, a popular consumer advocacy segment.

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