(Reuters) -- British car dealer Lookers expects full-year results near the top end of market expectations driven by better trading during the fourth quarter as its car parts business continued to perform strongly.
Looker's shares, which have gained about 20 percent over the past 12 months, were up nearly 5 percent at 65 pence at 09:00 GMT on Friday on the London Stock Exchange.
The 124-outlet firm, which sells cars from manufacturers including Ford, Vauxhall, Nissan and Toyota, also forecast full-year results ahead of its own expectations.
Analysts on average are expecting a pretax profit of 32.9 million pounds ($52.10 million) on revenue of $1.84 billion for 2010, according to Thomson Reuters.
Brokerage Panmure Gordon raised the price target on the company's stock to 80 pence from 70 pence on Friday.
"Lookers is more defensive than its peers given its above average exposure to parts and aftersales and so we would expect it to fare relatively well if trading conditions did get more difficult," said analysts Mike Allen and Paul Jones in a note to clients.
The company, which competes with Inchcape and Pendragon, also said its motor division performed strongly, with higher sales of new and used cars.
Analyst Sanjay Vidyarthi at Execution Noble said the brokerage was comfortable with its top of the range forecast of 37.7 million pounds, which represents a 10.7 percent EPS growth.
"Strong cash generation means that interest costs are coming down and cost control has been tight, so all lines of the P&L are going in the right direction," said Vidyarthi in a note.