Cost inflation will snip $1 billion in operating profits from Ford Motor's third-quarter profit. But one company's cost inflation is another company's price increase, which is why the surprising update from Ford should help some other companies.
On Monday, Ford (ticker: F) said it would earn $1.4 billion to $1.7 billion in third-quarter operating profit. Wall Street was looking for $2.9 billion. Parts shortages mean that Ford won't finish 40,000 to 45,000 units in the quarter. That's part of the reason for the miss. Ford also said facing higher costs for parts.
"Higher-than-expected inflation-related payments are likely good news for auto suppliers," wrote Baird analyst Luke Junk in a Monday report. Ford's inflation dilemma shows that suppliers plans to increase price have been successful. "Net, we believe that investors should view [Ford's] pre-announcement as likely good news for auto suppliers."
J.P. Morgan analyst Ryan Brinkman feels the same way, pointing out that Ford's cost inflation was based on " recent negotiations " with suppliers. Higher payments to supplies can help their third-quarter earnings reports, according to the analyst.
Three large auto suppliers Brinkman rates at Buy are Magna International (MGA), BorgWarner (BWA), and Lear (LEA). Two others that Junk rates at Buy include TE Connectivity (TEL) and Amphenol (AMP).
Those five stocks are down about 22% year to date on average. Magna is down the most, off more than 30% coming into Tuesday trading. BorgWarner shares have had the best year, off 16%.
And the five stocks are trading for about 15.7 times estimated 2022 earnings on average, down from about 18.3 times at the start of the year.
Some of the price decline and valuation multiple compression looks warranted. Analysts have cut 2022 earnings estimates for 2022 by about 16% on average over the past six months.
Inflation has been a big reason for the earnings cuts. Magna management, for instance, called out cost inflation for squeezing some divisional margins in the second quarter. That pressure, however, looks to be reversing, which could help auto-parts stocks in the remainder of 2022.
Demand for cars, of course, needs to stay strong for the inflation-reversal positive to play out. Citi analyst Itay Michaeli believes that's possible, writing Monday that Ford maintained its full year operating profit guidance for 2022 despite the third-quarter disappointment. That implies Ford will post a huge forth quarter number, with operating profit in the range of $4.5 billion. He rates Ford stock at Hold with a $16 price target.
Michaeli takes away a couple things from that. For starters, it shows that car companies are still making their highest-priced, highest-margins cars. That's good for auto-parts makers too—there are things in a higher end car. Michaeli also believes it means Ford sees no demand problem. People are still buying the higher-priced cars.
Ford stock is off about 10% in Tuesday morning trading. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average are off 0.4% and 0.3% respectively.