Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) - Get Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. Report stock spiked Wednesday after after it beat expectations for first-quarter sales and earnings, marking a new record for the multinational automaker.
Fiat reported sales of €27.7 billion ($30.19 billion) for the three months to March 31, which were up 4% on the same period one year ago, and ahead of the Factset (FDS) - Get FactSet Research Systems Inc. Report consensus for €27.3 billion.
Adjusted EBIT came in at €1.53 billion, an increase of 11% on the prior year, which was ahead of the analyst consensus for €1.49 billion. Adjusted diluted earnings per share were €0.43, modestly ahead of expectations for €0.42.
The shares rose by 4% in the immediate aftermath of the release, to trade at €10.10, taking gains since the start of the year to more than 15% and marking a stark contrast to the 0.29% loss for the Stoxx Europe 600 Automobiles and Parts index.
The group saw an improvement in profitability across all geographic segments except in Latin America and managed to hold global deliveries stable with those of the prior year despite trading in the NAFTA area being impacted by planned manufacturing changes.
Wednesday's gains take Fiat Chrysler's one week return over the 7% threshold although all European automakers have seen their shares rise strongly during recent days in response to speculation that the Trump administration is cooling on the controversial idea of a border adjustment tax.
Carmakers from Europe have poured billions into the development of Mexico based production plants in recent years.
The proposed border tax, if implemented, would target exactly those firms who have outsourced their manufacturing to overseas locations and now import vehicles for sale to American consumers.
Meanwhile, FCA's European business has been a bright spot of late, with March sales growing ahead of its European and U.S. competitors.
The relative strength of the European business comes at a time when some investors have begun to fear a turn for the worse in the U.S. auto market.
"Among the US OEMs, FCA remains our relative preference given the strategic optionality to unlock value," said Berenberg analyst Alexander Haissl.
A sprawling and seemingly sclerotic group structure, with numerous brands and subsidiaries, has long been seen as something that has harmed FCA's valuation.
Between 2010 and 2016 it took steps to simplify itself with the spinoff of Ferrari and CNH Industrial (CNHI) - Get CNH Industrial NV Report . But some analysts still think that it could go further, with both Maserati and Magneti Marelli brands being potential targets for disposal.