Shares of publicly traded automobile dealers rallied Thursday, after Berkshire Hathaway said it's buying Van Tuyl Group, the largest privately held U.S. auto dealership and the fifth biggest overall. Berkshire head Warren Buffett said he expects to buy more dealerships over time, adding further fuel to the sector. Sterne Agee analysts said that given Buffett's track record, the move "reinforces our confidence in the dealer group going forward." Lithia Motors Inc. , the eighth biggest dealer in the nation, was the biggest gainer, adding 9.2%. AutoNation, the sector leader, rose 5.5%. Penske Automotive Group Inc. , the second biggest dealer and Sterne Agee's top pick, rose 3%. CarMax, which sells used cars, was up 1.2%.
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