May Auto Sales Strong, But Payrolls, Greece Loom for Stocks

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Auto sales for the month of May have come in better than expected, with all top four automakers reporting results ahead of expectations. Notably, pickup sales were strong, and average transaction prices -- particularly for General Motors (GM) -- were impressive as well.

"It's very bullish for the economy" to see light truck sales come in so strong, Jim Lebenthal, president of Lebenthal Asset Management, said on CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime Report." Strong sales of light trucks could suggest that there is an increase in construction, which is good for the economy, he added.

In Lebenthal's opinion, General Motors is a better pick than Ford (F) at the moment, because it has more favorable overseas exposure.

General Motors is a "slam dunk," added Josh Brown, CEO and co-founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management. The stock is now trading well and looks likely to climb above $40 in the short-term. Ford is "okay," but GM has more potential at the moment, he said.

"GM has the most upside," according to Pete Najarian, co-founder of optionmonster.com and trademonster.com. He also likes Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT), which should benefit from a strong auto market, while the stock valuation is low given its earnings growth.

While auto sales were strong, there are concerns for the rest of the market, especially with the Greek deadline looming and ahead of May's nonfarm payrolls report, which the U.S. Labor Department releases on Friday.

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