Fiat Chrysler shares reach new high

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Shares of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV reached a new high Thursday, topping the $9.55 per share price the stock jumped to during its first day on the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 13.

FCA shares [NYSE: FCAU] hit $9.69 per share around noon Thursday after steadily increasing past its $9.55 opening price. Shares were trading at $9.66 as of 1 p.m. The stock closed Wednesday at $9.41, down 11 cents from the opening bell.

The new high comes hours after crosstown rival General Motors Co. announced third-quarter earnings were up 98 percent from a year ago to $1.38 billion and a week after FCA was assigned a "B1" rating by Moody's Investors Service.

"B" ratings are considered speculative and are subject to high credit risk, according to Moody's. It is the same rating Italian automaker Fiat SpA, which owned Chrysler Group LLC before merging into FCA on Sunday, was rated by the bond credit rating business.

Morningstar Inc. senior analyst Richard Hilgert, in a recent note to investors, said he expected plenty of volatility in the short term for the stock due to the "limited number of shares, confusion about valuation and no pre-debut management road show."

"In our opinion, Fiat Chrysler's stock is not for the faint of heart," he said.

Despite short-term volatility, Hilgert told The News he expects FCA investors' risks to "be well-rewarded" in the long term.

Since the stock's weakest NYSE closing price of $8.74 on Oct. 16, shares have increased an average of 13 cents per day.

FCA is scheduled to release its third-quarter earnings on Oct. 29.

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