United Rentals Shares Jumped: What You Need to Know

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 equipment rental specialist United Rentals (NYSE: URI  ) popped 14% today after its quarterly results and full-year outlook topped Wall Street expectations.

So what: United Rentals' impressive results -- its third-quarter profit nearly tripled on 18% revenue growth -- seem to be reinforcing the notion that rental equipment stocks are becoming an increasingly effective way to play defense. In fact, close competitors H&E Equipment Services (Nasdaq: HEES  ) and RSC Holdings (NYSE: RRR  ) are also rallying nicely on today's news.

Now what: For the full year, management raised its rental-rate forecast and now sees gross rental purchases of roughly $775 million (versus its prior guidance of $665 million). Looking further out, CEO Mike Kneeland said the company doesn't see any signs of a slowdown and expects 2012 to top or, at worst, equal 2011. As long as the economy remains sluggish and customers continue to favor renting over buying, United Rentals seems like a decent place to be.

Interested in more info on United Rentals? Add it to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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