Published: Jul 23, 2010 12:32 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 23, 2010 9:34 AM EDT

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - Ford Motor Co. surprised Wall Street with

a $2.6 billion profit in the second quarter as it continued to grab

sales from rivals in a slowly recovering U.S. market.

It was Ford's fifth straight quarterly profit. The company also

expects to be profitable in the second half of the year, although

less profitable than in the first half. The automaker sees even

stronger results in 2011.

For the second quarter, Ford earned 61 cents per share. That

compared with net income of $2.3 billion, or 69 cents per share, in

the same quarter a year ago. The year-ago results were mainly

driven by debt repayments.

Without special items, Ford earned 68 cents per share, exceeded

analysts' expectations of 40 cents per share. Analysts don't factor

in one-time items, including $229 million in charges related to the

discontinuation of the Mercury brand.

Ford's revenue rose to $31.3 billion from $27.2 billion a year

earlier, more than analysts' forecast of $29.8 billion. U.S. sales

rose 28 percent in the first six months of this year. That's almost

double the industry pace.

Ford paid off $7 billion in debt in the second quarter,

including a $3.8 billion cash payment to a United Auto Workers

trust fund that pays retiree health care bills. The automaker ended

the quarter with $27.3 billion in debt, which will cut its interest

payments by $470 million per year.

The debt helped finance a series of highly regarded new

products, which has helped Ford grab buyers' attention. The No. 2

U.S. automaker ended the quarter with 17.2 percent of the U.S.

market, up from 16.9 percent at the end of the first quarter,

according to auto information site

Ford said Friday it expects to end 2011 with more cash than

debt. It now has $21.9 billion in cash.