Continuing sales growth fueled strong returns for global automotive stocks in the third quarter.
Automakers, suppliers and the six U.S. publicly traded new-car retailers all posted double-digit gains in the Automotive News/PwC Shareholder Value Index for the quarter. Each group also showed strong returns over the past year and three years.
Sales growth in North America and Asia raised share value across all automotive sectors, said Jeff Zaleski, a PwC partner.
"The North American top line continues to expand with increasing vehicle sales and further investments by [automakers] in the region," he said.
The outlook also appears favorable, he said.
AutoFacts, PwC's auto forecasting subsidiary, predicts global light-vehicle assembly will total 82 million units this year, a 3.3 percent increase over last year, and will grow 6 percent to 87 million units in 2014.
North America and China volume should remain strong in 2014 and Europe likely has bottomed out of a five-year downturn, leaving Japan as the sole major market in a protracted slump, PwC says.
"The most significant growth is expected in Asia Pacific where automotive production is forecast to grow 8 percent in 2014," Zaleski said.
Measured over the past year and three years, publicly held automakers, suppliers and auto retailers have greatly outperformed all major global financial market indices.
The comparisons are mixed on third-quarter results, however.
The 26.8 percent return for auto retailers outpaced all six market indices, which showed gains ranging from 1.5 percent for the Dow Jones to 16 percent for the global STOXX index. But suppliers couldn't top STOXX and the French CAC. And the automakers' 11.3 percent increase beat the Dow Jones and S&P 500 but not the United Kingdom's FTSE 100 and the German Deutsche Borse indices.
After five years of decline, European auto sales turned positive in the second quarter. So it is not surprising that Europe-based PSA Peugeot Citroen, Daimler AG, BMW and Renault had the top returns among automakers in the third quarter.
Automaker returns averaged 11.3 percent for the period, compared with a 48.5 percent gain over the past year and 65.9 percent over three years.
The four Japanese automakers among the 14 global manufacturers in the index were at the bottom in the third quarter.
All 14 automakers posted positive results over the past year, but Peugeot and SAIC shares had a negative return over the past three years.
Companies based in North America and Europe led the supplier sector.
Federal-Mogul had the best third-quarter return, up 64.4 percent, while Plastic Omnium of France was tops over the one-year and three-year periods. Only three Asian suppliers were in the top 10 for the quarter.
Japanese-based companies held the bottom nine spots in the 37-company supplier index in the third quarter. NHK Spring was the only one with a double-digit quarterly decline, off 11.9 percent.
Suppliers averaged a 13.7 percent return for the quarter. The overall supplier index is up 52.6 percent over the past year and 71.1 percent over three years.
Stocks of publicly owned auto retailers are still on a tear, although their growth is slowing. Over three years, retail share values almost tripled, up an average 189 percent. The one-year index jumped 38.9 percent.
All six stocks in the retail index showed double-digit gains in the third quarter, averaging 26.8 percent higher.