Ford Motor Co (F) said last week that most of its white-collar staff would work from home, starting March 16th, as a measure against the spread of the coronavirus.
In an email to staff, Ford’s Chief Executive James Hackett said that most of the company’s international white-collar workforce outside China would now work remotely.
Ford shares closed higher for the fourth time in the past ten trading sessions in New York on Friday. The stock went up 5.14% ($0.28) to $5.63, after touching an intraday low at $5.13, or a price level not seen since May 26th 2009 ($5.10).
Shares of Ford Motor Company have retreated 39.52% so far in 2020 compared with a 16.09% loss for the benchmark index, S&P 500 (SPX).
In 2019, Ford Motor Co’s stock went up 21.57%, thus, it again underperformed the S&P 500, which registered a 28.88% gain.
“In recent days … we’ve concluded the coronavirus issue has taken on a different dimension – and we need to be proactive to keep our people safe and help limit the spread of the virus in the communities where we live and work,” James Hackett said in the email.
The CEO also said that in case an employee tested positive for the virus, they would be instructed to seek medical attention and to self-isolate.
Additionally, any Ford facility that has been exposed to a confirmed case of the illness will be shut down.
The impact from the coronavirus outbreak on the US auto maker’s global operations has so far been “limited”. Some employees in China and Germany have tested positive for the illness, but there have so far been no cases in the United States.
Analyst stock price forecast and recommendation
According to CNN Money, the 13 analysts, offering 12-month forecasts regarding Ford Motor Company’s stock price, have a median target of $9.00, with a high estimate of $13.00 and a low estimate of $6.00. The median estimate represents a 60.00% upside compared to the closing price of $5.63 on March 13th.
The same media also reported that at least 9 out of 17 surveyed investment analysts had rated Ford Motor Company’s stock as “Hold”, while 6 – as “Buy”. On the other hand, 2 analysts had recommended selling the stock.