Opinions and observations expressed on this blog reflect the authors' individual experiences and should not be construed to be financial advice. None of the members of this blog are licensed financial advisors. Please consult your own licensed financial advisor if you wish to act on any recommendations here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

October Auto Sales Fairly Strong

In case you missed it, October was a, by recent standards, a banner month for auto sales. We are still at levels that during normal times would indicate serious problems or would otherwise be dismissed a freakishly low, but the fact that the automakers are profitable at these sales levels speaks well to the performance of their stock prices.

Ford (F), has had quite a nice run as well all know, but it still is not that richly valued. According to Marketwatch data, it's trading at a little over 7x forward earnings estimates, which are probably too low. Even after rising so much so fast, it's still not exactly that rich. Now, will you make 10-fold on your money again? Certainly not. However, a decent 40% from here is certainly conceivable.

Looking elsewhere in the automotive sector to automotive parts suppliers, I don't see so many good buys, however. Borg Warner (BWA) is looking a little pricey, at least relative to the market. Johnson Controls (JCI), a personal favorite of mine, looks good from here, but not better than Ford. I kind of like Dana (DAN), but it still doesn't exactly scream "buy".

All of them have had impressive one year runs, however.

Notice the S&P 500 down there, having a respectable 15% gain that looks positively puny. Normally, after a sector has had such a break-out performance one would expect that it might be about to go through a phase of dramatic underperformance. However, before that happens I think there is still room to run for the sector as a whole, though Ford seems to be the best positioned. As for the looming GM IPO, I would need to take a good look at their financials. They've been somewhat opaque while in their quasi-public-private status.

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