GM projected to have most profitable Q1 in 11 years

Most automakers have already reported earnings for the first quarter of 2011, but General Motors is still busy counting its loot. We don't know how well the largest automaker in the United States fared, but Bloomberg reports that GM could post a profit of $1.74 billion for the quarter. That would be a 63 percent improvement versus Q1 2010 and the best first quarter for GM in 11 years. A first quarter profit would also be the fifth consecutive quarterly profit for The General – a significant task given the fact that the automaker exited bankruptcy protection less than two years ago.

GM's profit is expected because of the automaker's successful quarter in the U.S. and China. The automaker sold 26 percent more vehicles in the U.S. during Q1 2011 than it did in the first quarter of 2010, while car buyers in China appear to be picking up as many GM products as they can.

In the short term, analysts are questioning whether a solid profit statement will affect the company's stock. GM is still trading at levels close to the same $33/share when the company's IPO was released. The stock briefly climbed to nearly $39/share before dropping back down into the low $30 range. Analysts claim that GM stocks could take a turn for the better due to supply chain issues for Japanese automakers. The General is reportedly in a good position to reap additional sales as the result of its competitors' issues.

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