Earnings Outlook: GM earnings are likely to show a profit decline amid flagging sales and higher costs

Investors are bracing themselves for a profit decline for General Motors Co. amid declining U.S. car sales and raw-materials price increases.

GM GM, +0.64% is slated to report first-quarter earnings before the bell Thursday, counting on the goodwill it has amassed with analysts and investors to prevent a major bloodbath for the stock.

“The earnings numbers are going to be down big time from the prior year,” said Bill Selesky, an analyst with Argus Research. “The basic reason is that sales are slowing,” with U.S. retail sales likely flat compared with prior-year sales, making it harder for GM to turn a profit, he said.

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