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Ford Gets a Downgrade but the Stock Is Up. Deliveries Were Strong.

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Ford stock has more than doubled so far this year.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Shares of


Ford Motor

caught a downgrade Thursday, but a lot is going right at the company these days, as its November delivery numbers show.

Wolfe Research analyst Rod Lache downgraded


Ford

(ticker: F) to Hold from Buy, but raised his target for the stock price to $22 from $17. Relative valuation seems to be the biggest reason for the change.

Coming into Thursday trading, Ford stock was up about 123% so far in 2021. Shares are up about 80% since Lache upgraded them in April, while General Motors stock (GM) is up about 45% year to date.

Lache said Thursday he prefers GM stock now. He rates the shares at Buy and has a target of $86 for the price.

GM stock is getting a boost from the vote of confidence. It was up about 3.2% to $59.93 in early trading, but Ford stock didn’t take a hit from the downgrade, rising 0.9% to $19.77. The

S&P 500
and

Dow Jones Industrial Average
were up about 0.6% and 1.1%, respectively.

Lache raised his Ford price target, of course, but positive news about sales in November might also be helping.

Ford said Thursday it delivered 158,793 vehicles in the U.S. in November, up 5.9% compared with November 2020. Year to date, Ford has delivered about 1.7 million vehicles in the U.S., down about 5.6% compared with the same span of 2020. The global semiconductor shortage has constrained auto production all year. Ford’s growth, however, shows that the most acute phase of the shortage is passing.

Ford trucks are selling well. They always do. So far in 2021, the Ford F-150 remains the bestselling truck in America, as it has been for 45 consecutive years.

The company’s U.S. sales of electrified vehicles—a number that includes hybrids—hit a record in November at 11,116 vehicles. Ford delivered 3,088 all-electric Mustang Mach-Es.

After the downgrade, about 55% of analysts covering Ford stock rate shares at Buy, which matches the average Buy-rating ratio for stocks in the S&P 500. The average analyst price target is at about $20, right around where shares are trading currently.

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com

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