This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Ahead Of The Bell: April Auto Sales

By TOM KRISHER

DETROIT (AP) â¿¿ By nearly all accounts, U.S. auto sales zipped along in April and are heading for their highest annual total in six years.

Automakers release April numbers on Wednesday. Sales likely stayed on a pace to top 15 million cars and trucks this year.

Barring an unexpected event that causes a real estate price collapse or rapidly rising job losses, there's nothing to stop sales from growing further in the next few years, industry analysts say.

"I don't see any significant hurdles on the horizon," said Alec Gutierrez, a senior market analyst at Kelley Blue Book. "I don't see us taking a step back, provided the unemployment rate at least holds steady."

U.S. unemployment stands at a stubbornly high 7.6 percent, but that hasn't slowed auto sales much. Analysts are predicting that April sales ran at an annual rate of 15.3 million. That would make it the best April since 2007 and the sixth-straight month of sales above a 15 million yearly pace.

Sales were so good for April that LMC Automotive, a Detroit-area auto industry forecasting firm, raised its full-year prediction by a tenth of a point to 15.4 million.

Aside from unemployment, almost every factor that affects car and truck sales is positive. Interest rates are low, with the average four-year loan on a new car running at 2.4 percent, according to Bankrate.com. Also, credit is widely available, even to those with low scores. Used-car values are still high, so people get good money when they trade in their cars. Lease deals are good. Gas prices have fallen.

In addition, home-building is on the rise, up 7 percent from February to March. That usually means better sales of big pickup trucks as companies and laborers return to the market. Kelley Blue Book expects big pickup sales to rise more than 26 percent in April over a year ago.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,044.63 +13.49 0.08%
S&P 500 1,985.31 +1.18 0.06%
NASDAQ 4,509.88 -9.0220 -0.20%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs