GM turned in a great fourth quarter

Gm general motors american flagREUTERS/Rick WilkingThe U.S. flag flies at the Burt GM auto dealer in Denver June 1, 2009.

On Wednesday, General Motors reported fourth-quarter earnings for 2014. They were stronger than anticipated: GM made $US0.66 per share, but that was reduced from $US1.19 per share by a $US0.53 charge for “special items.”

In a statement, the company said that “[i]ncluded in special items during the quarter was an $US800 million reduction to net income attributable to common stockholders related to the redemption of all outstanding Series A preferred shares.”

Wall Street was expecting $US0.83 per share from GM in the quarter, before any charges.

“A strong fourth quarter helped us deliver very good core operating results in 2014 despite significant challenges we and the industry faced,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement.

Barra was specifically addressing GM’s struggles with a massive ignition-switch recall, but also weakness in important international markets, such as Europe and Russia.

For all of 2014, GM profit fell by $US1 billion, to $US2.8 billion from $US3.8 billion for 2013.

“Core automotive operating performance improved in 2014, but results were more than offset by incremental recall and restructuring costs, and a net loss from special items,” the company said.

In trading before the markets opened, GM shares were up 4% from their Tuesday close of $US34.

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