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Ahead of the Bell: Auto Sales

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NEW YORK (AP) - Major automakers are scheduled Tuesday to report August sales, which some analysts expect to decline because of sluggish consumer spending, higher gasoline prices and weakness in the housing market.

Buckingham Research Group analyst Joseph C. Amaturo expects retail sales to come in weak for the third straight month in August, which could pressure auto-related stocks.

"Weaker year-over-year retail sales reinforce our concerns about the weaker consumer, in particular, as it relates to high ticket discretionary items," Amaturo wrote in a note to clients.

Amaturo expects Ford Motor Co.'s August overall sales to decline at least 10 percent from a year ago.

Both Ford and General Motors Corp. are likely to offer a production forecast for the fourth quarter. GM already has cut scheduled overtime through the rest of this year at six plants that make large sport utility vehicles and pickups. And last week, the company said it will cut 1,200 jobs at a Canadian pickup plant in January.

However, Lehman Brothers analyst Brian Johnson expects GM to report a "small" 2 percent decline in August sales, compared to a year ago, mostly because of big incentives GM started offering on its vehicles.

"GM appears to have had a relatively good month in August following two consecutive months of sharp sales declines," Johnson wrote in a client note.

Sluggish August sales would follow a dismal trend for the industry this summer. Sales in June and July were at the lowest rate for a two-month period since 1998.

© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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However, Lehman Brothers analyst Brian Johnson expects GM to report a "small" 2 percent decline in August sales, compared to a year ago, mostly because of big incentives GM started offering on its vehicles.

Oops... Brian was wrong... hehe.

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After working in investments for 3 years and CONSTANTLY hearing analyst banter like this I think I've finally figured out why get so pissed off about these articles... It's the WORDING! For example: DISMAL

DISMAL:–adjective

1. causing gloom or dejection; gloomy; dreary; cheerless; melancholy: dismal weather.

2. characterized by ineptness or lack of skill, competence, effectiveness, imagination, or interest; pitiful: Our team played a dismal game.

3. Obsolete.

a. disastrous; calamitous.

b. unlucky; sinister.

While the market HAS been a little slow this year, one certainly can't SERIOUSLY say it's been DISMAL.

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