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5 Auto Stocks in Top Gear

3. Navistar International (NAV) is a holding company operating through principal subsidiaries Navistar Inc. and Navistar Financial Corp. The company manufactures commercial and military trucks, buses, diesel engines, chassis for motor homes and step vans. NIC operates in four segments: truck, engine, parts and financial services.

Of the 20 analysts covering the stock, 70% recommend a buy and 30% suggest a hold. The stock's average 12-month price target is 46.6% higher than the current price at $56.27, according to a Bloomberg consensus.

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011, net income is expected at $246.36 million, or $3.18 per share as compared to $44.2 million, or 61 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Sales are seen rising 33% to $4475.2 million. Operating profit is likely to surge to $350.89 million from $145 million in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin is pegged at $19.15 million, up 6% from the year-ago period. Guidance for cash flow per share is $4.34.

Daily build rates for North American Class-8 trucks increased 9% in Oct. to 1,220 vehicles, the highest level in this replacement cycle, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Year-to-date, Class-8 build has increased 66% to 205,310 units. Additionally, the truck backlogs increased 2% in Oct for the North American Class 8. As per historic data, backlogs in the fourth quarter increased by 7% on an average.

The company has sold $224 million of wholesale floor plan notes in a two-year 144-A transaction to support its dealer inventory funding. This transaction will replace a $250 million deal that matures in January 2012.

Going forward, net income for fiscal 2011 is expected to rise 84% year-over-year to $392.91 million or $5.12 diluted earnings per share. Sales are seen rising 16% to $14.056 billion from $12145 million in the previous year.

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