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GM beats forecasts

Automotive giant General Motors is raising its profit forecasts after posting better than expected first quarter results.

Net earnings were $1.28bn (£710m) - down on the $1.5bn it made during the same period last year.

It's finance arm also produced record results and automotive operations received a boost thanks to increased demand from the Asian market.

But despite producing higher numbers than expected, GM's European and US car divisions put up a weak show after making cuts in production.

General Motors Europe reported a loss of $116m (£65.5) compared with a $65m loss last year.

The automaker says the figures reflect continued pricing pressure, higher foreign-exchange losses and launch costs for the new Astra.

European market share fell from 9.6%to 9.5%.

"Our first-quarter financial results in Europe were below expectations," says chief executive, Rick Wagoner.

"Going forward, we expect to see improved results through the balance of the year as we ramp up production of the new Astra, which has been well received."

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