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GM posts $392 million operating profit $357 million net loss laid to aircraft unit


DETROIT -- General Motors Corp. said yesterday that it had an operating profit of $392 million in the second quarter -- its most heartening quarterly showing in two years.

The company reported a net loss of $357.1 million for the quarter because of a $749.4 million charge by its Hughes Aircraft subsidiary.

The operating earnings reflected increased factory sales of cars and trucks to dealers, and cost savings from GM's reorganized North American automotive operations, said Chairman Robert C. Stempel.

Despite the strong operating earnings, GM's stock fell $1.875, to $37.25, yesterday. It was the second-most-active issue on the New York Stock Exchange, with 5.9 million shares changing hands.

The stock prices of GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Corp. have slipped recently, as economic data have provided fresh evidence of a faltering recovery.

"The latter half of the year could be difficult in view of uncertainties related to the pace of economic recovery in North America and a slowdown in some major European markets," Mr. Stempel said.

Although the next six months should show an improvement over the year-ago period, he said, "sustaining the rate of progress we experienced in the first half appears extremely challenging."

GM's revenue rose 14 percent in the second quarter, to $35.19 billion from $31.33 billion, in the second quarter of last year. It lost $784.5 million in the 1991 quarter.

GM has about 3,300 employees at its plant on Broening Highway, which makes the Chevrolet Safari and GMC Astro vans.

GM's Electronic Data Systems Corp. posted a 12 percent earnings increase, to $157 million; General Motors Acceptance Corp. earned $287 million, up more than 1 percent; and GM Hughes Electronics had a net loss of $585 million.

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