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Rising Consumer Confidence Likely to Buoy Auto Sales

Separate study finds auto lending market loosing up.

by on Feb.29, 2012

Automakers stand to benefit from the rise in consumer sentiment - and an upturn in lending.

A sharp rise in consumer confidence – which helped drive the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a 13,000 close for the first time since 2008 – is likely to also help push the auto industry towards a faster recovery than initially expected.

Consumer confidence, which is also one of the key indicators for car sales, remained strong in February due to a record number of consumers who were aware of ongoing increases in jobs, says University of Michigan economist Richard Curtin, director of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.

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A separate study further buoyed prospects for the auto industry by showing that lenders continue freeing up more cash for potential buyers.

February marked the sixth consecutive month of gains in the Sentiment Index as consumers became more positive about prospects for the economy. But there was a downside, researchers warned.