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Ford weathered the downturn in the auto industry better than General Motors ( and other competitors, and it has been one of the quickest to recover. )
The Detroit automaker recently doubled its dividend payment, after adding $2 billion of cash to its balance sheet last year. In another sign of strength, Ford ( regained its investment grade rating from both Fitch and Moody's. )
While sales in Europe have lagged, Ford has seen strong demand for its fuel-efficient cars in the United States.
The automaker has been focusing more on small cars as consumers respond to high gas prices, but light trucks still make up the bulk of its sales.
Overall, U.S. auto sales have risen to their highest levels in years, as consumers unleash their "pent-up demand" for new cars, and cheap financing becomes more readily available.