It pays to sell $400,000 plus supercars during an all-out stock market boom.
Ferrari (RACE) - Get Report is about to win the award for hottest auto stock of 2017, with shares closing in a more than 80% gain. That's no small achievement considering the market's infatuation with electric car maker Tesla (TSLA) - Get Report (that includes CEO Elon Musk) and the ongoing turnaround of once sleepy General Motors (GM) - Get Report . Year to date shares of Tesla and GM have risen 44% and 19%, respectively. Toyota (TM) - Get Report has tacked on 8% for the year, while Ford (F) - Get Report has shed 1% as it works to retool its business under new CEO Jim Hackett.
For Ferrari, it could credit the out-performance of its stock to one overarching theme: it's selling a luxury product at a time in which the rich are getting richer. The richest folks in the world have added $1 trillion in wealth this year, according to the latest read of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Thank you Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite and yes, even bitcoin.
The wealth component isn't lost on Ferrari's outspoken CEO Sergio Marchionne.
"I think it has been confirmed by the performance of the stock in the marketplace, but more importantly the financial performance we've had since we've taken it [the company] public, that Ferrari as you know it isn't a car-maker," Marchionne told TheStreet in October about's the stock's performance. "Ferrari happens to make cars, but it makes luxury goods for a select group of people who cherish belonging to an exclusive club for our users -- that's a different argument than making cars."
The company has done its part to prove to investors that it's worthy of a now $20 billion plus market cap.
Third quarter sales and operating profits rose 6.7% and 13.2%, respectively, on the back of sales of the $1.4 million LaFerrari and more affordable GTC4Lusso. Shipments increased in major markets such as the U.S., U.K., China and Japan. The results led Ferrari to also tweak its 2017 sales and profit forecasts higher.
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