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Avis Budget Stock Soars on Earnings Beat; Short Squeeze Seen

Car rental company Avis Budget Group exceeded third-quarter earnings estimates as revenue doubled.

Shares of Avis Budget Group  (CAR) - Get Avis Budget Group, Inc. Report as much as tripled on Tuesday after the car rental company exceeded third-quarter earnings as revenue doubled.

The stock has caught the fancy of retail traders who usually chase the so-called meme stocks like GameStop  (GME) - Get GameStop Corp. Class A Report and AMC Entertainment  (AMC) - Get AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. Report.

Net income at the Parsippany, N.J., company jumped to $675 million, or $10.45 a share, from $45 million, or 63 cents a share, in the year ago quarter. 

Adjusted earnings were $10.74 a share compared with $1.13 a share a year earlier.

Revenue almost doubled to $3 billion from $1.53 billion in the year-earlier period.

A survey of analysts by FactSet had estimated earnings of $6.87 a share on revenue of $2.67 billion.

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"Our third quarter results are a testament to our team’s on-going focus around cost discipline and ability to execute operationally,” said Chief Executive Joe Ferraro in a statement. 

“We are seeing the benefits of initiatives we began during the early days of the pandemic and look to build on this positive momentum as the travel environment continues to normalize," Ferraro added.

Shares of the Parsippany, N.J., company closed 108% higher at $357.17. The stock traded on Tuesday at as much as $545.11. 

Trading in the shares was halted for volatility. 

A short squeeze might be in play, media reports suggest. According to Bloomberg, about 37% of the stock is borrowed and sold short by bearish investors betting on price declines.

A short squeeze occurs when buyers boost the stock price. This forces the short sellers to cover their positions by buying the stock as well. This can cause an extremely quick and sharp price rise.