(Editor’s note: This post was updated January 28 at 1 p.m.)

Ford Motor Co.’s share price plunged Friday morning after the automaker’s earnings report missed analyst estimates.

At 1 p.m., shares were trading at about $16.5o, down about 12 percent from $18.79 at the start of the day when analysts were predicting Ford would report $8 billion in net income.

Instead, the company reported a $6.6 billion profit after taking a 4Q 2010 write-down of almost $1 billion.

For the final quarter of 2010, Ford earned $190 million, or 5 cents per diluted share, after taking a $960 million charge related to a debt-conversion offer. That compared to earnings of $886 million, or 25 cents per diluted share for the same quarter one year ago. Its fourth-quarter revenue rose $1.6 billion to $32.5 billion, but that wasn’t enough to placate investors.

The original post filed at 7:30 a.m. January 28:

Major media outlets are projecting that Ford Motor Co. executives will report 2010 as their most profitable year in a decade.

Ford’s anticipated annual profit of about $8 billion would be its best showing since a $10.2 billion profit in 2000, when U.S. industry auto sales were 33 percent higher, according to Reuters.

It is the second straight profitable year for Ford, which lost $30 billion from 2006 through 2008.

Ford has two huge Louisville operations, Louisville Assembly Plant and Kentucky Truck Plant. When LAP comes back on-line in 2012 after a $600 million upgrade and retooling, it’s expected to have a workforce of at least 2,000. Kentucky Truck Plant employs about 5,000 people

Analysts expect the company to report a fourth-quarter, 2010 profit of 48 cents per share. That would translate into fourth quarter, 2010 profit of about $2 billion on total revenues of $31 billion, according to the reports.

More stories about Ford:

“Ford profit to party like it’s 1999,” MarketWatch blog.

“Earnings Preview: Ford May Post It’s Best Yearly Profit in a Decade,” (DailyFinance blog.)

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