Ford Motor Company (F) Falters on December Sales Miss

F is lower today after falling short of December auto sales expectations

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Jan 5, 2016 at 3:21 PM
Updated on Jan 5, 2016 at 3:23 PM

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is 2.2% lower at $13.67 today, after reporting its best sales year since 2006 -- which still fell short of analysts' expectations. The automaker reported full-year sales numbers that rose 5%, as December's sales improved 8% year-over-year -- but industry analysts were targeting more robust sales growth of 11% for the final month of 2015.

Over on Wall Street, most analysts tend to keep their expectations for F relatively low; currently, half of the brokerages covering the stock give it a "hold" or "sell" rating. But one group that has been showing enthusiasm is option traders. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), F has a 50-day call/put volume ratio of 3.63 -- meaning nearly four calls have been bought to open for each put during this time frame. Moreover, this ratio tops 90% of comparable readings taken in the last year.

Echoing this, F has a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.65, which ranks just 2% from an annual low. This indicates an extreme preference for calls among short-term option traders.

Today's monthly sales miss aside, Ford has revealed a slew of new, high-tech features that will be included in their upcoming vehicle lines. Speaking today at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Ford CEO Mark Fields outlined some upcoming enhancements to his company's vehicles, including a tie-up with Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) to facilitate connectivity between cars and home devices.

Of course, the big buzz in the sector lately has been around self-driving vehicles. Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) said today it would expand its fleet of driverless test vehicles to 30, just a day after competitor General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) announced a big investment into ride-sharing service Lyft, with a goal of developing a network of on-demand driverless cars.

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