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X Marks The Dead Spot!

|Includes:AKS, MT, NUE, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. (SCHN), X

- By Jonathan Chen

Will U.S. Steel (NYSE:X) ever get its act together?

The company just reported a fourth quarter GAAP loss of $1.74 per share, well below what Wall Street had expected. Analysts had expected a loss of $1.12 per share, so this was quite a miss. Revenue did fare better than expected, coming in at $4.3 billion versus the $4.22 billion Wall Street estimates had anticipated.

This huge miss comes just one day after Citi raised its price target on the stock and predicted fourth quarter results.

Commenting on results, U. S. Steel Chairman and CEO John P. Surma said, "We reported a modest improvement in our fourth quarter operating results in comparison to the third quarter mainly due to reduced spending for facility repair and maintenance, including structural repairs and inspections, and a net gain related to asset sales. The improvements were partially offset by decreases in realized prices and a reduction in total shipments, reflecting soft steel market conditions during most of the quarter and the traditional seasonal downtime taken by some of our customers during the latter part of the quarter."

Commenting on U. S. Steel's outlook for the first quarter, Surma said, "We expect to report a modest improvement in reportable segment results in comparison to the fourth quarter 2010. Order rates for most customer groups and publicly reported spot market prices began to increase later in the fourth quarter and we remain cautiously optimistic that global economic conditions will continue to improve in the first quarter."

These results will heavily weigh on shares of the other steel makers today, like Arcelor Mittal (NYSE:MT), AK Steel (NYSE:AKS), Nucor (NYSE:NUE), and Schnitzer Steel (NASDAQ:SCHN).

Disclosure: no position in names mentioned

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
Stocks: SCHN, NUE, AKS, MT, X