Bear, Stearns & Co. reaffirmed its positive ratings of two consumer finance companies that have been seeking out acquisitions, despite weakness in the subprime lending sector.

Household International Inc. continues to be an "attractive" stock, Bear Stearns said, in part because of its recent purchase of Transamerica Corp.'s consumer finance unit, which is expected to accelerate growth of the company's branch-based business.

Home equity lender Associates First Capital Corp. is also still very attractive at current levels, Bear Stearns said, in part because it is pursuing acquisitions. Associates is still rated a "buy."

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