General Motors posted fourth-quarter earnings yesterday that beat Street expectations, however the automaker still saw its shares tanking more than 5 percent today because of border tax concerns and disappointing sales abroad.
While investors may be concerned about international trading policies, Seaport Global Securities analyst Michael Ward believes the 5 percent sell-off is unwarranted because of GM’s solid quarterly results.
“When you look at it from a financial standpoint, GM delivered what they needed to do,” Ward told CNBC’s “Power Lunch” on Tuesday. “They had record results in 2016. They ended the year with 11 billion of net cash on the automotive side. So I think from all aspects of it, GM’s financial results were solid and don’t justify a 5 percent sell-off in the stock.”
And even though Ward understands the border tax proposal is an issue, Ward believes the focus and concern of automakers should shift toward autonomous driving.
“I think when you look at the grand scheme of it, there were a lot of questions about the border tax and so certainly that’s an issue. But there was about $200 million or so of costs of autonomous driving,” Ward said. “Everybody’s caught up in the buzz about autonomous driving, but at the end of the day that’s about safety and so from my perspective, GM should be investing about a billion dollars a year trying to improve the safety of the vehicles, and if that comes through autonomous driving, that’s a plus.”
Investors have also been concerned about GM’s performance in other companies, specifically with China, the largest auto market in the world.
However, Ward clarified that GM does not operate as an American company because of a joint venture with Shanghai Automotive, the largest automobile maker in China.
“GM is in China with self-funded joint ventures, so GM is a Chinese company,” Ward said. “Also, GM imports very few vehicles in China and so it’s irrelevant. They made $2 billion in 2016 after tax from the Chinese self-funded joint ventures, so GM’s financial risk is minimal.”