NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 04/03/12 -- Strong sales in March are a positive sign of recovery in the U.S. auto sector. On average, 34 analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect March sales to hit an annualized pace of 14.75 million vehicles. That would be up from 13.3 million a year ago but down from 15.1 million in February. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the Oil and Gas Industry and provides equity research on Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (NYSE: HMC)
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"The current level of gas prices will further accelerate the release of pent-up demand as consumers lean towards significantly more fuel efficient new vehicles while used prices are still strong," Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said. Current trends make Morgan Stanley's projection of 14 million vehicle sales in the United States this year look "very conservative," Jonas said in a research note.
Consumers who held off purchases during the economic downturn -- which led to the worst U.S. auto sales since World War II adjusted for population -- are returning to the market, said Edmunds.com analyst Jessica Caldwell. "Vehicle trade-in rates have achieved sustained highs in recent months, which suggests that consumers have decided that they've held on to their cars for too long," Caldwell said. "And with the average credit score for new car buyers at its lowest level since the first half of 2008, the market is clearly becoming a friendlier place for all buyers."
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Ford Motor Company announced that Board of Directors of the Company declared a second quarter dividend $0.05 per share on the company's Class B and common stock. This is the same level of dividend paid in the first quarter of 2012. The second quarter dividend is payable on June 1, 2012, to shareholders of record on May 2, 2012.
Honda Motor Co., Japan's third-largest car maker, officially resumed production on Saturday at its plant in Ayutthaya in Thailand, which was forced to close for almost six months after severe flooding last October. Pitak Pruittisarikorn, executive vice-president for Honda Automobile (Thailand), told a news conference the plant should produce 150,000 vehicles in the remaining nine months of 2012 and the target was for output of 240,000 per year.
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