General Motors Co (GM.N) posted that fourth-quarter net income slid partly from $500 million in foreign exchange losses, and the automaker forecast flat 2017 profit per share despite hefty stock buybacks.
The stock tumbled 4.7 percent in early trading in part because Wall Street fretted over GM’s higher U.S. inventories.
The company said profits were pressured in 2016 because it launched several car models at a time when consumers are turning away from cars to buy SUVs, Reuters reports.
Inventories of unsold vehicles at its U.S. dealers rose by one-third to 845,000 vehicles at the end of 2016. GM Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said the company had built up stocks ahead of product launches, and intends to bring inventories down through the year.
Its North American adjusted profit margins declined to 8.4 percent in the fourth quarter from 10 percent a year earlier. Adjusted profit margins for full-year 2016 were 10.1 percent, down from 10.3 percent in 2015.
Stevens said the company does not expect to break even in Europe this year, but will push to “get to that point in 2018.”
GM’s fourth-quarter net income fell to $1.8 billion, or $1.19 per share, from $6.3 billion, or $3.92 a share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, GM earned $2.4 billion, or $1.28 a share, in the latest quarter, down 14 percent from a year earlier. The adjusted result beat analysts’ expectations of $1.17 per share.
GM forecast adjusted earnings per share for all of 2017 at $6.00 to $6.50 a share, compared with $6.12 for all of 2016.
GM completed a $5 billion share repurchase authorization in 2016, and in the fourth quarter began another $4 billion program that its board has authorized for buybacks.