Auto Service World
News   November 22, 2005   by Auto Service World

Not All Parts Makers in Same (Leaky) Boat

A report from a U.S. financial publication says that auto parts makers aren’t all suffering.
The S&P auto-parts index is down 29 percent through late October, but not all auto-parts companies have labour-cost woes, and many have very strong sales growth that GM execs would envy.
“Some decent stocks are coming under pressure,” says Joseph Amaturo, an analyst with Calyon Securities in Money Magazine. And that could mean the chance to buy good stocks cheap, if you are willing to go against the grain.
Amaturo likes Borg-Warner because Ford, GM and DaimlerChrysler accounted for less than half of sales last year.
In addition, he is looking with favour on American Axle & Manufacturing, which could surge if gas prices moderate and SUV sales rebound.
Rod Lache, an analyst with Deutsche Bank, upgraded auto-interior and battery maker Johnson Controls following the Delphi Chapter 11 declaration. The company, which generates less than 40 percent of sales from the Big Three, recently raised its fiscal 2006 sales and earnings estimates.
Gentex, a manufacturer of rearview mirrors, reported better than expected third-quarter earnings in October thanks to strong demand from Asian carmakers. Gentex is a favourite of Robert W. Baird analyst David Leiker, who wrote in an October report that the parts sector is now so cheap that contrarian money managers looking for bargains are “kicking the tires” on the stocks.
Along the same lines, Curtis Jensen, manager of the Third Avenue Small-Cap Value fund, is also reported to be saying that wheel maker Superior Industries and American Axle are good bets.
“There’s good reason to be skeptical” about the industry’s prospects, he admits, “but it seems the pendulum has swung too far in terms of the share prices.”
Neither Superior nor American is burdened by debt, Jensen says, and that can help them handle rough roads.

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