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GM operating profits fall 14% in Q3 on flat revenue

DETROIT -- General Motors' record prices in North America and booming sales in China weren't enough to offset weakness in just about every other region, as GM's third-quarter operating profit fell 14 percent.

GM said today that its operating profit in North America surged 12 percent, to $2.45 billion, on stronger sales and stout pricing on its redesigned pickups and SUVs. Operating income from China rose 14 percent to $484 million.

But results from Europe, South America and GM's International Operations unit, excluding China, were all worse than a year ago.

Overall, operating income -- which is earnings before interest and taxes excluding one-time items, and is the figure that GM considers its best measure of underlying performance -- fell 14 percent, to $2.26 billion.

"Today we shared solid results that underscore our strong position in the United States and China, and we also showed resilience in the face of headwinds in other markets," CEO Mary Barra told analysts during a conference call.

GM's net profit nearly doubled from the July-September period a year ago, to $1.38 billion when its bottom line was sharply reduced by expenses from a buyback of preferred stock. This year's third-quarter profit was reduced by about $320 million in special items, including asset impairments in Russia and cleanup costs from flood damage at its technical center in suburban Detroit.

Revenue edged up by less than 1 percent, to $39.26 billion.

GM shares slipped 38 cents, or 1.21 percent, to close at $30.93 in New York trading Thursday.
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