As worries regarding the global economy have grown, steel companies have been sold heavily considering their complete reliance on economic strength. If you are one of the few left who believe things will be O.K. in the long run, and would like to collect some solid yield in addition to equity appreciation, these three industrial stocks are nice choices to consider.
Nucor (NYSE:NUE): With a dividend yield of of 4.6%, its payout ratio nears 100% based on its earnings. Based on free cash flow, however (which is what's used to pay dividends), its payout ratio is 59%. In the last quarter, Nucor showed a net-asset-value of more than $7 billion. With a market cap of $9 billion, the company is currently selling at only a slight premium to its assets. This premium is justified for several reasons. The first is that the Nucor is uniquely postioned compared to its competitors as 55% of their steel sheet volumes are under long term pricing contracts. These pricing agreements were made on beneficial terms for Nucor, and it dampens pricing risk going forward.
Additionally, Nucor's castrip technology is a a rarely discussed production advantage. The proccess is extremely efficient as it does not require the use of energy-consuming rollers to produce the steel. The cost is about 1/10th of a typical steel mill. Nucor has enough cash and credit resources to engage in necessary mergers and acquistions going forward, as the industry as a whole consolidates to stay competitive. Nucor (and the rest of the United States) has been lobbying hard for the current administration to protect them from the Chinese dumping their steel here at impossibly low prices. Eventual action appears very likely as the WTO continues to take different steps against Chinese policy.
ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT): The company currently pays a 3.3% dividend. Call me stupid, but I'm having a tough time figuring out why MT is trading where it is. Don't get me wrong, while valuations across the broader market do appear cheap, there are some real questions to be answered on the macro and policy making fronts. What is hard to understand, however, is why MT is trading at a severe discount to its peers. As the largest steel company in the world, ArcelorMittal has resources simply not available to others. MT is a master at vertical integration: the company supplies 55% of their necessary iron ore materials (per their annual report). By 2015, the company aims to nearly double its current iron ore output. If it succeeds, it will be supplying more than 80% of its necessary materials costs. Its balance sheet strength is also unparalleled. The company has a net asset value of $62 billion, while its market cap is a paltry $30 billion. The assets include no goodwill, so there's no fluff in there. To be trading at half of its NAV is incredible, especially considering that its assets include valuable mines and powerful machinery.
Steel Dynamics (NASDAQ:STLD): Steel Dynamics pays a solid 3.5% dividend. The company has a NAV of $2.4 billion, nearly exactly equal to its entire market cap. Steel Dynamics' business is essentially trading for nothing. STLD is not as well positioned as ArcelorMittal or Nucor, but its strong dividend yield and good balance sheet should make it a solid investment. The company appears undervalued by all metrics, trading at .35 times sales, 5.46 times current earnings, and at a .38 PEG ratio.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in MT over the next 72 hours.