DETROIT (

TheStreet

) -- The U.S. automotive sector has been in search in some good news for, oh, the past several years or so. And apparently today's earnings report from auto supplier

American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings

(RIG) - Get Report

was close enough to good news to suffice.

Shares of American Axle surged by more than 33 percent as the market approached the Wednesday afternoon close, changing hands at $3.48, an increase of 87 cents from its Tuesday closing price. The market was responding an earnings report in which American Axle announced that it had cut its second-quarter losses by more than half, despite the fact that its revenue fell by the same amount due to extended shutdowns at

General Motors

and

Chrysler Group

plants.

The Detroit company reported a loss of $288.6 million, or $5.20 per share, compared with a loss of $644.3 million, or $11.98 per share, for the second quarter in 2008.

Its revenue fell 50 percent to $245.6 million from $490.5 million for the same quarter a year ago.

The maker or drivetrains and chassis modules said that $203.6 million of its revenue drop was directly attributable to the extended shutdowns at GM and Chrysler plants during the quarter. Chrysler shut down plants in May following the company's bankruptcy protection filing, while GM plants shut down in the weeks before its June 1, Chapter 11 filing.

The results included special charges of $191.8 million, or $3.46 per share, in one-time charges on asset impairments and work force reductions, the company said. Excluding the charges, American Axle lost $96.8 million, $1.74 per share.

Those results still missed analyst estimates. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a loss of 77 cents per share on revenue of $279.6 million.

"Amid the increasingly challenging global market conditions we are experiencing this year, American Axle remains focused on managing what we can control," said company founder, Chairman and CEO Richard Dauch in announcing today's report.

"We have nearly completed the comprehensive restructuring, resizing and recovery of our business by realigning AAM's global manufacturing capacity and reducing AAM's operating break-even level."

-- Reported by Ty Wenger from New York.

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