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U.S. Steel: As Steel Prices Go, So Go Steel Stocks?


This morning, analysts at LongbowupgradedU.S. Steel (X), Nucor (NUE), AK Steel (AKS), and Steel Dynamics (STLD), citing the potential for further government actions to boost steel prices. Not everyone is as optimistic on steel prices--or iron ore for that matter. But will it matter for steel stocks?

BP-AA495_X20170_D_20170607100916.jpgAgence France-Presse/Getty Images

Perhaps not. Morgan Stanley's Evan Kurtz and team, for one, sees steel demand from China as "stable" but worry about the impact of lower iron prices on stocks like U.S. Steel and Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF). They don't see much downside for their stocks, however.

The 2H outlook for iron ore was negative, which could pose a headwind for CLF, X and Schnitzer Steel Industries (SCHN): Multiple sources expressed concern for 2H iron ore prices, and mentioned they could dip to $40/t again. The concern was that seaborne supply growth could push the market lower. Lower iron ore prices would be a headwind for CLF and X. In addition, falling raw material costs should also weigh on scrap pricing, since scrap is a substitute for blast furnace pig iron, which would impact SCHN as well. That said, the shares of all three names have already fallen meaningfully this year, and all three are trading below our price targets. We believe a further decline in iron ore/scrap is mostly priced in.

Shares of U.S. Steel have jumped 4.5% to $21.07 at 10:05 a.m. today, while AK Steel has climbed 4.2% to $6.24, Nucor has gained 3.2% to $56.67, Steel Dynamics has advanced 2.8% to $34.10, Cliffs Natural Resources has risen 3.2% to $6.17, and Schnitzer Steel Industries is up 1.8% at $19.60.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , US Markets


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