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The Hidden Reason Copart's Shares Soared in July

By John Bromels - Aug 10, 2020 at 11:39PM

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A rising tide in the auto industry lifted an unusual boat.

What happened

Shares of online salvage auctioneer Copart (CPRT -1.76%)'s shares were up 12% for July, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The stock saw its biggest gain -- of between 6.2% -- between July 13 and 14, despite announcing no news of significance. The S&P 500 only rose 2.3% during those two days, and was up just 5.5% for the month.

A man holds a tablet and touches a car icon above it.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Although Copart is often considered a tech company, it auctions vehicles on its online platform, and it seems as though positive news elsewhere in the auto industry spilled over to benefit Copart's shares.

On July 10 -- the trading day before the stock's big rise -- the auto industry got some good news from China, the world's largest market for vehicles. In Q2 2020, Chinese auto sales rose 10.4% over the prior year quarter, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. It was the industry's first quarterly gain after almost two straight years of quarterly declines.

Then, on July 13, Ford (F -1.39%) unveiled a new line of off-road SUVs, resurrecting the Bronco brand name. Ford's shares gained 11.2% between July 13 and 14, a sign of investors' renewed confidence in the traditional automaker. Other auto industry companies benefited from the boost to the industry. General Motors' stock, for example, also beat the market over the two-day period, with shares up 8.1%. 

Now what

It's unlikely that the resurrection of the Ford Bronco will help online vehicle auctioneer Copart, whose customers are salvage yards, parts suppliers, and insurance companies buying and selling salvage vehicles online -- although I suppose you could argue that an off-roading Ford Bronco is more likely to need replacement parts at some point than a commuter's sedan. 

Copart is a global brand with customers in 170 countries, including China, but China isn't one of the 11 countries where it has physical locations, so that news is equally unlikely to affect the bottom line. Copart has been a long-term outperformer, although at 34.3 times earnings, shares are at the high end of their 10-year range. But July's auto news shouldn't really affect your thesis. 


John Bromels owns shares of Ford. The Motley Fool recommends Copart. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Copart, Inc. Stock Quote
Copart, Inc.
$128.10 (-1.76%) $-2.29
Ford Motor Company Stock Quote
Ford Motor Company
$15.93 (-1.39%) $0.23
General Motors Company Stock Quote
General Motors Company
$39.48 (1.95%) $0.76

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