Sector Snap: Auto Shares Rise

The Associated Press

Shares of automakers rose Thursday along with the broader market, two days after the companies posted their highest sales month in three years.

Research group Autodata Corp. said Tuesday that U.S. auto sales in August rose 20 percent from a year earlier to nearly 1.3 million. That made it the strongest sales month since August 2009.

Ford said Thursday that it will offer 15 new or restyled vehicles for the European market over the next five years. Demand for cars in Europe has dropped as the region's debt crisis continues to spread to bigger economies. Ford is hoping that its new releases will help boost sales there.

Ford Motor Co. shares rose 34 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $9.91 in afternoon trading.

Encouraging economic news from Europe and the U.S. also boosted auto shares. The European Central Bank unveiled a new bond-buying plan Thursday to help ease Europe's debt crisis. And the U.S. Labor Department said that fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 2 percent. Other major indexes were higher as well.

â¿¿ Shares of General Motors Co. rose 69 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $22.45.

â¿¿ Shares of Honda Motor Co. rose 75 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $32.21.

â¿¿ Shares of Toyota Motor Corp. rose $1.87, or 2.4 percent, to $80.31.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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