Some investors in auto stocks aim to focus on two variables right now: They want to avoid exposure to Europe, and they want to capitalize on an expected upturn in demand for light trucks here in the U.S. as homebuilding construction finally starts to rebuild after multi-decade lows. Construction workers have been mostly patching up their old trucks to conserve cash, and this upgrade cycle may be huge.
American Axle (AXL - Get Report) not only has minimal exposure to the troubles in Europe, but it's a key supplier for GM and Chrysler in their large pick-up truck programs. Along with Ford's F-Series pickups, GM and Chrysler's trucks remain among the top-selling vehicles in North America.Analysts expect American Axle's sales to rise almost 10% this year to around $2.8 billion, and on the heels of a newly-launched GM truck in 2013, anticipate sales rising nearly 15% in 2013 to around $3.2 billion. Meanwhile, shares trade for less than five times projected 2013 profits. American Axle shows up on a list of Stocks in Bottoming Sectors Primed for a 2012 Bounce. Follow @stockpickr