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Ford shares hit highest price in 4 years

December 22, 2009

DETROIT --Shares of Ford Motor Co. hit their highest price in more than four years as the broader market rose Tuesday.

Shares of the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker traded as high as $9.88 in Tuesday's session, their highest price since October 2005. Shares recently traded up 18 cents at $9.85.

Ford shares have nearly quadrupled in value in the year to date as the company rolled out new products like the Ford Fusion midsize sedan, cut costs and managed to avoid government aid and bankruptcy protection unlike its crosstown rivals General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC.

Deutsche Bank analyst Rod Lache predicted late Monday that Ford's sales would rise 4.5 percent in December when compared with the same month last year, while GM sales would drop 16 percent and Chrysler sales would fall 19 percent. The forecasts are adjusted for two additional selling days this December compared with last year.

Lache estimated Ford's market share at 15.5 percent. Ford ended 2008 with 15 percent of the U.S. market.

Overall U.S. sales for December are likely to rise 7.5 percent, Lache wrote in a note to investors.

On Monday, Ford offered another round of buyout and retirement incentive packages to all 41,000 U.S. hourly workers in an effort to further cut its work force. Earlier this year, 1,000 workers took similar packages, the company said in July.

Ford started 2009 with 89,000 employees in North America, but reduced that number to 80,200 as of Sept. 30 through attrition, buyouts and layoffs.

Ford reported a nearly $1 billion profit in the third quarter and predicted it would be solidly profitable in 2011.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally, said earlier this week that the company will continue to benefit next year from its ability to avoid bankruptcy and government aid.

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