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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of auto retailer Group 1 Automotive (NYSE: GPI ) jumped more than 11% in intraday trading today as investors cheered the company's third-quarter earnings report.
So what: Recession-strapped consumers don't buy big-ticket items like cars, right? Well apparently they're out buying used cars in droves, because a 34% surge in used car sales gave a major boost to Group 1's results. Not to be totally outdone, new vehicle sales were up 13%, which is particularly impressive since this time last year sales were getting a boost from "Cash for Clunkers." Overall, the company saw a 10% advance in operating income and earnings per share of $0.83 beat analysts' $0.75 expectation.
Now what: If Ford's (NYSE: F ) continued strong results say anything about the auto market right now, Group 1 may be in line for more smile-inducing results in the quarters to come. While it's a business that may be a little hard to get overly excited about, the stock's valuation looks pretty reasonable right now, particularly if it continues its postrecession bottom-line bounce.
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