Ford on Friday reported a fourth-quarter profit surge, boosted by strong North America sales and a huge special tax item. Ford Motor Company said earnings in the final quarter rose to $13.6 billion, an increase of $13.4 billion from the year-ago period, mostly due to special items. The increase was fueled by $12.4 billion for a tax adjustment and $401 million from the sale of Ford\'s Russian operations to the newly created FordSollers joint venture, the company said. Fourth-quarter earnings were $3.40 per share for the number two US auto giant. Revenue in the quarter was $34.6 billion, up 6.5 percent from a year ago and better than analysts anticipated. For all of 2011, the company reported net income was $20.2 billion, compared with $6.6 billion the previous year. Adjusted earnings per share of $1.66 for the full year were well below market expectations of $1.84. But 2011 revenue topped expectations at $136.3 billion, up a whopping 13 percent from 201. Europe remained the weak spot in the fourth quarter, with Ford registering a pre-tax operating loss of $190 million. \"Despite the continued uncertainty in the external environment, the strength of our North American and Ford Credit operations allows us to continue to invest for future growth and develop outstanding products with segment-leading quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design and value,\" Ford president and chief executive Alan Mulally said. Ford, the only major US automaker that did not seek a government bailout during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, said it was making progress toward resuming dividends to shareholders. \"2011 marked a milestone year in our work to strengthen our balance sheet,\" said Lewis Booth, chief financial officer. \"We increased automotive cash, reduced debt and improved liquidity, clearing the way for us to resume paying a quarterly dividend.\" Investors punished the earnings news, sending Ford stock down 4.9 percent to $12.16 in pre-market trade.