UPDATE 1-Group 1 Automotive 4th-qtr profit rises 44 percent


(Recasts, adds details) DETROIT, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Car dealership Group 1 Automotive Inc. on Thursday posted a surprising 44 percent rise in quarterly profit, boosted by improved margins in its used-vehicle and parts and service units, and forecast 2006 earnings at the higher end of Wall Street estimates. The Houston-based company said fourth-quarter earnings rose to $16.2 million, or 66 cents per share, from $11.2 million, or 47 cents per share, a year earlier. Wall Street analysts, ...

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