Avis Budget Group’s Christmas surprise fuels hope for coming months

Avis Budget Group Inc. on Thursday pinned its quarterly profit on strong demand over Thanksgiving and Christmas, and told Wall Street the beleaguered business of renting cars might just be turning a corner.

Avis Budget CAR, +3.69% shares jumped more than 15%, a performance that followed a strong post-earnings showing late Wednesday, when the company said it had swung to a profit in the fourth quarter and reported quarterly sales that beat Wall Street forecasts.

Shares looked set to close at their best level since early February and notched their largest percentage increase since June. The stock has gained 29% in the past 12 months, outstripping gains of 15% for the S&P 500 index.

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