Is Ford (F) pulling away? It sure seems like it. Those numbers this morning were nothing short of spectacular: best light trucks, best SUVs, best February, must be better than expected.
I cannot stress to you how important these numbers are, because one of the most worrisome issues I have had is the peak auto thesis. If it isn't true, if we really are in a position where Ford can pull away -- something Mark Fields, the CEO, told me could be happening -- then we can take a recession thesis off the table.
Autos matter. Light trucks -- where Ford did amazingly -- matter. (You can read more about the auto sales numbers that were released this morning in this story on Real Money)
Think about the ramifications. Alcoa (AA) gets new orders. Steel companies get new orders. Plastic companies get new orders. Sales at the AutoNations of the world are better. More financing. And more financing at better prices, not at discount prices, because it is not enough that vehicles ramped up 20% vs. last year but average prices were up $1200.
Watch this situation. Ford is starting to make a move. It now yields less than 5%, but it still sells at only 6x earnings.
Remember what Fields said to me: the big cars (SUVs) and the light trucks (F 150) are where the money is.
The multiple makes no sense to me, and while I know Latin America will be terrible, I do think that the rest of the world is improving for Ford, and this one could be very big.