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As Auto Sales Rev Up, So Could Auto Shares

Alex Dumortier, CFA
January 3, 2013

After posting their best one-day performances in more than a year yesterday, it's no surprise that stocks are taking a breather this morning. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) and the broader S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) are down 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively, as of 10:15 a.m. EST.

Auto sales motor ahead
Auto manufacturers will release December and full-year sales figures today, with new-vehicle sales set to reach 14.4 million units in 2012. Auto sector research firm R.L. Polk is forecasting this year's sales could reach 15.3 million for economy-thumping 7% year-on-year growth. That would put the sector on track to achieve sales of 16 million units the following year, which would be the first time it hit that milestone since 2007 (see the graph below; the shaded gray area represents the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009).