What: Shares of TrueCar, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRUE) had quite an exciting Friday morning, trading as much as 38% higher before settling down to a 30% gain at the time of this writing. The move comes after TrueCar reported its third-quarter results Thursday and it's a breath of fresh air for investors concerned TrueCar's mission to transform the car-buying experience was in real trouble after a very poor second quarter.
So what: TrueCar reported a narrowing loss of $11.1 million, or $0.13 per share, during the third quarter compared to last year's loss of $13.6 million, or $0.18 per share. Excluding items and stock-based compensation, TrueCar's loss checked in at $0.03 per share, which was better than analyst expectations of a $0.05 loss per share. But really, TrueCar's third quarter was much better than just beating estimates by two pennies.
TrueCar's average monthly unique visitors jumped 43% higher to 6.6 million during the quarter, compared to last year. That traffic helped drive the company's total revenue 28% higher year over year, to a record $72.4 million. TrueCar users purchased 208,034 units from the company's network of certified dealers, a 21% increase year over year.
It gets better. Not only did TrueCar's acquisition cost per sale decline 11% to $193 from the previous quarter, but it's monetization per transaction increased from $303 to $324 year over year -- its highest level since going public.
While there were many highlights for TrueCar investors, the biggest driver of the stock price jump this morning was the following:
Now what: TrueCar's stock increase this morning is more of a confidence booster that the company's business model isn't broken after last quarter's disastrous results. However, there is still a long road ahead of the company, but its third quarter was certainly proof that TrueCar's business can rebound for investors.
Looking forward, investors will obviously want to keep an eye on TrueCar's adjusted-EBITDA results, but also its litigation -- management noted that two of the five pending lawsuits filed between March and September of this year had already been dismissed -- and its search for the next CEO. As sales of new vehicles in the U.S. approach record highs, and transaction prices continue to increase -- thereby incentivizing consumers to seek out TrueCar's pricing transparency -- 2016 is shaping up to be a much more positive year for the company and its investors.