Toyota (TM) Set To Lose Title Of World’s Top-Selling Automaker This Year

Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) is reeling from a strong yen, and the Thai floods that severely severed its supply lines this year. The world’s current top-selling automaker is poised to fall from that spot as the companies production capabilities have been devastated this year.

Toyota is expecting to be overtaken in sales this year by General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and probably by Volkswagen AG.

“Toyota is hitting a trough,” said Cho Soo-Hong, auto analyst at Woori Investment & Securities in Seoul. “Its market share will recover next year with output normalization and new model launches, but I don’t expect too much from Toyota’s earnings as the yen is expected to remain strong because of appetite for safe-haven assets.”

Japan’s top automaker expects operating profit to fall 57% to 200 billion yen in the year to end-March, well below a consensus forecast of 419 billion yen in a survey of 23 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Toyota’s previous forecast of 450 billion yen, issued in August, was withdrawn last month after Thailand’s worst floods in 50 years cut off the supply of parts to Toyota’s factories in 10 countries. Toyota said the floods would effectively cost the company 230,000 vehicles in lost production this business year.

Toyota said the floods accounted for 120 billion yen of the downward revision to operating profit, while the yen’s strength, which makes exports less competitive and eats into overseas profits when brought back to Japan, cut another 190 billion yen.

Chief Financial Officer Satoshi Ozawa expressed deep frustration with the firm yen, which Tokyo has failed to weaken through intervention, warning that current exchange rates could threaten Japan’s very foundation as an export-driven economy.

“The revision is partly because Toyota’s exposure to currency swings is big, but I think it also brought to light the severity of the crisis Japan is in, because the country is founded on its export strength,” Ozawa told a news conference.

Shares of Toyota were trading at 67.07, down 0.09% at 9:37 am ET today.

U.S. Stock Futures Rise As EU Plan Is Agreed Upon. Stocks to Watch: BCSI, FLOW, AAPL, AMZN, THQI, TM

As investors anxiously await U.S. economic data, there is somewhat of a sigh of relief as 23 European Union nations have agreed upon tighter fiscal constraints in the wake of the sovereign debt crisis. Britain is among four nations disagreeing with the plan.

Germany and France, the two biggest economies in the euro zone, had hoped to persuade all 27 members of the European Union to back a change to the EU treaty that would impose tight fiscal rules on its members. However, Britain and three others refused to join in.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 100 points to 12,112 and those on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 12.10 points to 1,242.3.
Nasdaq 100 futures gained 20.25 points to 2,301.7.

After overnight talks in Brussels, Belgium at the European Union headquarters, 23 European nations agreed to participate in a new inter-governmental agreement on tougher fiscal rules. Hungary, Sweden and the Czech Republic have reportedly not committed yet.
The euro rose against the dollar to $1.3402. European markets were slightly higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index up 1.2% to 240.60.

The rising futures are following stock indexes higher in Europe, though they were down from their daily peaks. Germany’s DAX is up 1.5 % at 5,963 while the CAC-40 in France rose 1.7% to 3,148. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares is 1.1% lower at 5,484.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.5% to close at 8,536.46 while South Korea’s Kospi sank 2% to close at 1,874.75. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 2.7% to end at 18,586.23.

Benchmark oil for January delivery rose 16 cents to $98.50 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Stocks to watch this morning include Blue Coat Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:BCSI), Flow International Corporation (NASDAQ:FLOW), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), THQ Inc. (NASDAQ:THQI) and Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM).

Blue Coat Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:BCSI) is up 44.62% this morning at $17.48. BCSI has traded 1.5 million shares in pre market trading, already above its daily average for the day. Blue Coat announced it has agreed to be acquired by private equity frim Thoma Bravo for $1.3 billion. The company has a market cap of 748.18 million.

Flow International Corporation (NASDAQ:FLOW) is up 28.10% in pre market trading at $3.10. Flow International posted a better than expected profit for the second quarter late yesterday. FLOW posted EPS of $0.06, higher than the expected $0.01. FLOW trades 198 thousand shares a day on average. The company has a market cap of 115.48 million.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is up 0.55% in pre market trading at $392.78. AAPL trdaes on average 14.59 million shares a day. AAPL saw a decent jump in intraday trading yesterday reaching a high of $394 before settling back down to around $390. Apple has a market cap of 363.08 billion.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is up 0.80% in pre market trading at $192.00. AMZN trades 6.71 million shares a day on average. Retailers are in an uproar with Amazon after the company released a price check app that allows for in-store price comparison. Amazon has a market cap of 86.62 billion.

THQ Inc. (NASDAQ:THQI) is up 5.44% in pre market trading at $0.949. THQI trades 1.94 million shares a day on average. THQI has taken a massive hit the past few days after cutting its revenue forecast for the current quarter by 25%. This caused THQI stock to fall from around $1.70 to below a $1 in two days. THQ has a market cap of 61.51 million.

Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) is down slightly in pre market trading at $67.08. TM trades 605 thousand shares a day on average. Toyota cut its full-year earnings forecast this morning blaming a strong yen and Thai floods. The company expects net profit of 180 billion yen, down from 390 billion yen they projected a few months ago. Toyota has a market cap of 105.25 billion.

U.S. Automakers Post Strong Sales For November

General Motors (NYSE:GM), Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and Chrysler all enjoyed a surprisingly strong month of sales in November. Overall, the industry reported a SAAR (seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales) of 13.6 million units, according to Autodata, up from 12.28 million in November 2010. Total deliveries rose 13.9% from a year earlier.

GM reported it sold 180,402 cars and trucks, paced by a 34% increase in sales of the Chevy Silverado and a 22% rise in sales of the GMC Sierra. GM saw retail sales rise 15% while fleet sales dropped 14%.

“We are seeing a broad spectrum of customers return to the market,” said Don Johnson, GM’s head of U.S. sales operations. “Truck sales showed a very solid increase, as we expected, but the momentum building behind our most fuel-efficient vehicles was even stronger.”

Ford reported a 13.3% rise to 166,865 for cars and trucks. The improvement was helped by a 20% gain in retail sales. Ford said the increase helped bring its retail market share to an average of 15% over the past three months, its highest level in five years. Ford also raised its first-quarter production forecast by 3% to 675,000 vehicles.

“The industry sales rate has exceeded 13 million in each of the last three months,” said Ken Czubay, head of Ford’s U.S. sales division. “This suggests the current momentum is not an aberration. We believe replacement demand will continue to support stronger levels in 2012, and Ford is ready to meet that demand with high-quality, fuel-efficient cars, utilities and trucks.

Chrysler Group LLC was the biggest winner Chrysler posted a 45% surge in sales to 107,172 cars and trucks. That marks the twentieth consecutive month of year-over-year improvements, the best November since 2007.

Also reporting strong November sales were Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) and Nissan. Honda Motor Company (NYSE:HMC) took a 6.4% drop in sales.

NYSE Stocks Hitting 52-Week Lows for 11/21: ALU, WAG, CRM, AVP, LCC, TM

The market sell off continues today, though the market has rebounded slightly from its lowest point of the day. The Dow is down 254 points, the Nasdaq is down 51 points and the S&P is down 23 points. Let’s take a look at a few NYSE stocks hitting new 52-week lows today.

Alcatel-Lucent, S.A. (NYSE:ALU) is down 5% today at $1.81. ALU hit a new 52-week low of $1.78 earlier today. The stock has traded 9.7 million shares so far today, less than half its daily average. ALU has been trending lower most of the month and was as high as $2.76 a few weeks ago. The company has a current market cap of 3.94 billion.

Walgreen Co. (NYSE:WAG) is down 4.24% at $31.25 in afternoon trading. WAG hit a new 52-week low of $31.07 a earlier in the day. WAG has traded 7.4 million shares so far today and should pass its daily average of 7.9 million shares. The company has a current market cap of 27.80 billion.

Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) is down 2.36% today at $110.75 in afternoon trading. CRM has traded 5.1 million shares so far today, about half its usual trading volume. CRM has seen a lot of analysts upgrades to buy today after hitting a 52-week low of $105.06. The company has a current market cap of 14.93 billion.

Avon Products Inc. (NYSE:AVP) is down 0.80% at $16.70 today. AVP hit a new 52-week low of $16.45 shortly after market open. AVP has traded 4.6 million shares so far today, about 1 million short of its daily average. This is AVP’s ninth day in a row trading in the red. The company has a current market cap of 7.19 billion.

US Airways Group, Inc. (NYSE:LCC) is down 5.43% at $4.18 today. LCC hit a new 52-week low today at $4.02. Earlier today, US Airways welcomed SkyWest Airlines as regional partner. LCC has traded 3.2 million shares so far today. The stock usually trades 6.8 million shares a day. The company has a current market cap of 676.01 million.

Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) is down 3.51% at $61.33 today. Toyota has traded 579 thousand shares so far today, 30 thousand more than its daily average. TM has been trading relatively flat until the market sell off today. The stock hit a new 52-week low of $61 today. The company has a current market cap of 96.14 billion.

Toyota (TM) Q2 Drops 32% In Part Because of the Japan Earthquake

Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) posted a 32% drop in its quarterly operating profit and also withdrew its full-year profit forecasts. Toyota has been plagued in recent years with several disasters, both man-made and natural. First, there were the massive recalls on braking systems in Toyota vehicles along with the global financial disaster in 2008. Then, the massive earthquake in northern Japan in March of this year. Now, the floods in Thailand threaten to derail the gains the company has made despite the long train of disasters.

Toyota said on Tuesday its operating profit for July-September was 75.39 billion yen ($966 million), worse than an average estimate of 101.3 billion yen in a Reuters survey of 12 analysts. Second-quarter net profit was 80.42 billion yen, down 18.5%. Toyota is also drowning under a stubbornly strong yen, which is making its annual exports of 1.5 million vehicles from Japan unprofitable and less competitive against cars from the likes of Hyundai Motor Company.

Toyota’s Executive Vice President Satoshi Ozawa said: “In Japan and North America, vehicle sales decreased severely compared to the same period last fiscal year due to the large impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake. However, in Asia, despite a negative impact from the earthquake, we increased vehicle sales above the same period last fiscal year due to expanding sales in India, Indonesia and Thailand.”

In Japan, vehicle sales totaled 797,000 units, a decrease of 288,000 units compared to the same period last fiscal year. The operating loss from Japanese operations increased by 223.9 billion yen, to a loss of 275.9 billion yen.

Toyota reported in North America, vehicle sales totaled 689,000 units, a decrease of 352,000 units compared to the same period last fiscal year. Operating income decreased by 84.4 billion yen to 61.5 billion yen, including 15.6 billion yen of valuation gains/losses on interest rate swaps. Operating income, excluding the impact of valuation gains/losses on interest rate swaps, decreased by 109.8 billion yen to 45.9 billion yen.

Shares of Toyota closed at 65.48 on November 7.

U.S. Stock-Index Futures Rise Along With Japan and Australia

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in December rose 0.4 percent to 1,263 at 6:42 a.m. in New York. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 59 points, or 0.5 percent, to 12,066.

All eyes are on Italy this morning waiting on a budget vote as the European’s third largest economy attempts to keep there debt problems in check. Investors worldwide have moved from worries about Greece to Italy now. Italian bond yields spiked this week, a sign that Europe’s debt crisis is far from over. Unlike Greece, Portugal or Ireland, all of which received financial rescue money, Italy has too much debt to be rescued by its European neighbors.

The euro shed 0.1% to $1.3762 , down from $1.3773 late in New York and well off a 2-month high of $1.4248 hit on Oct. 27.

The S&P 500 is trading over twelve times the estimated earnings of its companies, below the average multiple of 14 over the past five years, Bloomberg News data shows. The S&P 500 slid 2.5% last week, snapping a four-week rally, as Greece’s reluctance to accept another bailout and the failure of global leaders to agree on boosting the International Monetary Fund’s resources threatened Europe’s efforts to halt its debt crisis.

The S&P 500 companies reporting results since mid-October shows more than 72% of them topped estimates for earnings.

Japanese stock futures and Australian shares rose after the European Central Bank’s Juergen Stark predicted the region’s debt crisis will be controlled within two years and as Greece moved closer to naming a premier of a unity government.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average expiring in December closed at 8,785 in Chicago yesterday compared with 8,760 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,770 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.5 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed in Wellington.

Crude oil for December delivery rose $1.26 to $95.52 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. This is the highest settlement price since July 29.

Stocks to watch include Honeywell (NYSE:HON) which gained 0.4% to $54.15 in Germany after Citigroup Inc. upgraded the shares to “buy” from “neutral.” Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) and Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) release earnings today.

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