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Jan. 20, 2022, 12:18 p.m. EST

Ford is ‘back,’ but stock gets another downgrade

By Claudia Assis

Ford Motor Co. stock got a downgrade from Jefferies on Thursday, the latest Wall Street re-rating to highlight that the legacy auto maker is roaring back, but so are its shares.

Ford (NYS:F) is “back, with strong earnings and a repaired balance sheet,” the analysts at Jefferies said. The stock is approaching “cyclical highs,” however, which “leaves limited scope for positive surprises.”

The analysts downgraded their rating on Ford shares to hold from buy, and increased their price target to $25, from $20, which represents upside of around 14% from Thursday prices.

Ford’s stake in Rivian Automotive Inc. (NAS:RIVN) , the expected initial public offering of its Argo AI unit, and the return of dividends “provide strong support” for the stock, the analysts said.

Ford said earlier this week it will book a $8.2 billion gain from its investment in Rivian following that EV maker’s IPO in November.

Analysts at RBC Capital Markets last week downgraded their rating on Ford to hold for roughly the same reasons . Ford stock has gained more than 150% in the past 12 months, compared with gains of around 23% for the S&P 500 index. (S&P:SPX)

Ford is expected to report fourth-quarter results after the bell Feb. 3. Analysts polled by FactSet expect the auto maker to have earned an adjusted 44 cents a share on sales of $41.2 billion, which would compare with adjusted earnings of 34 cents a share on sales of $36 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Link to MarketWatch's Slice.