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Daily Memo

THE — VALLEY —

Lithia's earnings top expectations

Lithia Motors Inc. made $5.85 million or 47 cents a share in its third quarter of 1999 -- topping analysts' expectations for the 12th straight quarter.

The Medford-based auto dealership company reported its quarterly earnings Wednesday morning. Lithia has expanded quickly since going public in 1995, growing from five dealerships to 39. It has purchased 11 dealerships this year.

The company made $3.65 million or 35 cents a share for the third quarter of 1998.

Through three quarters of this year, Lithia has made $13.46 million, well above the $7.4 million it had made at this point a year ago.

The company's stock, traded as LAD on the New York Stock Exchange, closed Wednesday's trading up 12.5 cents a share to $19.75.