Shares of Ford are up nearly 13% year-to-date, and 10% in just the last 3 months. This momentum, illustrated in the chart below, is one indicator that shareholders may experience more of the same going forward. That depends on some key factors.

F Chart

F data by YCharts

During the first quarter of 2014, Ford's net income fell sharply. Quarterly retained earnings growth fell from above 30% to 23.77%. That's not too troubling, but to sustain the leap in the stock's price, the company will need to produce improved numbers when it reports second quarter results on July 24.

Hope for this surfaced July 9, when Ford announced a 6.6% year-over-year increase during June for auto sales in Europe. This was in sync with its intentions to become profitable again in Europe and maintained its schedule to accomplish this by late 2015.

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The company's pretax operating loss in Europe narrowed to $194 million in the first quarter, from a loss of $425 million in the year-ago quarter. These results bode well for further progress not only in Europe but in other markets like South America and China.

Considering how high shares of Ford climbed in the last 3 months, investors may choose to wait before buying a full allocation.

My sense is to look for a pullback, and with luck, a 4% correction creates a buying opportunity near the June 23 low of $16.68.

At the time of publication the author positions in F and GM.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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Marc Courtenay is a financial research analyst and the founder of Advanced Investor Technologies LLC as well as the publisher and editor of www.ChecktheMarkets.com.

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