Tue, Aug. 11, 11:35 AM
- Commodity metals are getting hammered by China's devaluation, with aluminum trading down nearly 2%, copper prices lower by 2.5% and nickel plunging more than 3.5%.
- Hardest hit of the mining stocks is Freeport McMoRan (FCX -14.1%), which has completely surrendered yesterday's 10.8% surge; shares now are down 72% over the past year and 57% YTD.
- Iron ore miners are sharply lower: BHP -5.5%, RIO -4.2%, VALE -7.8%, CLF -7.3%.
- Steel companies: X -9.7%, MT -5.1%, AKS -5.7%, NUE -2.9%, STLD -3.5%, CMC -4%.
- Also: AA -6%, CENX -4.9%, TCK -8.2%, SCCO -4.9%.
- ETFs: XLB, JJC, XME, SLX, PEO, VAW, COPX, DBB, UYM, CU, IYM, JJN, SMN, JJU, PICK, MATL, CPER, JJT, BOM, RJZ, FXZ, PYZ, BOS, FOIL, JJM, LD, BDD
Thu, Jul. 30, 10:34 AM
- AK Steel (AKS +2.6%) is upgraded to Overweight from Neutral with a $5 price target at J.P. Morgan, which believes fundamentals for domestic integrated steel makers have bottomed.
- Steel prices likely have recently hit bottom, and falling imports coupled with stable demand should push steel prices higher throughout the end of the year, the firm says, adding that AK’s Q2 results instead of its Q3 should represent a low for the current cycle.
- While the macro environment remains negative due to the strong dollar, a weaker Chinese economy and weak oil prices, lower imports should push steel prices, and AK’s earnings and stock price higher in the near term, the firm says.
- JPM expects hot-rolled prices to increase to the low $500/ton area by year-end as the import situation sees some improvement and demand remains stable; trade cases should help to reduce imports into the U.S., which in any case is no longer as attractive of a destination for exports given current prices.
Tue, Jul. 28, 2:25 PM
- AK Steel (AKS +13.5%) soars despite a mixed Q2 earnings report, after joining domestic steel producers U.S. Steel (X +5%), Nucor (NUE +2.2%), Steel Dynamics (STLD +6.9%) and Arcelor Mittal (MT +5.4%) in filing a trade case against steel dumping by eight countries related to cold-rolled steel products.
- The news apparently made investors optimistic that AKS can overcome low steel prices, which caused the company to miss Wall Street’s EBITDA forecasts.
- KeyBanc analyst Philip Gibbs notes that based on comments on the AKS earnings conference call, hot-rolled and stainless steel trade cases look likely.
- AKS says Q2 shipments totaled 1.811M tons vs. 1.75M in Q1 and 1.39M in Q2 2014, and expects to generate improved results for Q3 and H2 relative to their comparable periods a year ago, citing anticipated higher shipments, improving carbon steel spot market prices, increased production levels resulting in lower per ton operating costs, and the continuing benefit of lower raw materials costs, particularly iron ore.
- Citi analysts believe AKS likely will continue to struggle to post positive free cash flow absent a sharp price recovery.
Tue, Jul. 21, 11:53 AM
- Steel stocks are higher after Steel Dynamics (STLD +6.8%) issues solid Q2 earnings and says it expects improved financial results in H2 driven by reduced steel import volumes and sustained lower scrap costs.
- STLD says it generated $309M in cash flow from operations during Q2, a 32% Q/Q increase.
- Still, Citigroup’s Brian Yu thinks STLD's results hint at tough times for AK Steel (AKS +3%) and U.S. Steel (X +2.1%); with utilization rates at 87% in Q2 vs. the 72% industry average, STLD may have been more aggressive taking share in the quarter, which along with lower engineered bar shipments, could help explain the drop in realized mills pricing and margins.
- Longbow’s David MacGregor argues that "trade cases are the [steel] market’s only hope now."
Mon, Jul. 13, 2:15 PM
- Vale (VALE +6.9%) and other iron ore peers are rallying after reports that Vale plans to cut iron ore production in an attempt to boost profit.
- Peter Poppinga, Vale's executive director for ferrous and strategy, told an industry conference in Sao Paulo today the company would lower iron ore output by 25M metric tons starting this month, with the cuts coming from lower quality products at its mines in south and southeast Brazil and from third-party purchases.
- “Our mantra is not volume at any cost anymore, it’s to maximize margins,” Poppinga said. “It doesn’t mean shutting mines, it means optimizing some production flows at plants.”
- Poppinga also said prices for iron ore, which have been cut almost in half in the past year, are poised to rebound as China shuts mines and replenishes inventories.
- Also: RIO +3.9%, BHP +2.9%, SID +8.4%, CLF +7.2%, X +4.7%, AKS +7.4%, MT +2.4%, NUE +2%, STLD +2.3%.
Fri, Jun. 19, 6:14 PM
- AK Steel (NYSE:AKS) -1.9% AH after issuing below consensus Q2 earnings guidance, saying it expects to report a net EPS loss of $0.42-$0.37 vs. the analyst consensus estimate of a $0.30 loss.
- AKS says results continue to be hurt by lower carbon steel prices due to the continued high level of what the company believes are unfairly traded imports.
- AKS expects Q2 shipments of ~1.8M tons, up 3% Q/Q, at an average selling price of $929/ton, down 7% Q/Q.
Mon, May 11, 12:59 PM
- AK Steel (AKS +3.8%) is reiterated with a Buy rating and $9 price target at BofA Merrill, based on better global electrical steel demand, falling iron ore costs and an improving free cash flow story as estimated 2015 project spending tapers off.
- BofA says its meeting with CFO Roger Newport revealed optimism that the recent $20/ton price hike was sticking and more could follow.
- The firm also says AKS is the only beneficiary of lower iron ore prices in its coverage universe, as even with its Magnetation investment the company will still rely on third party iron ore for half its needs.
Tue, Apr. 28, 10:48 AM
- AK Steel (AKS +7.2%) surges higher despite posting a wider than expected Q1 loss, as revenues rose 27% Y/Y to $1.75B.
- Shipments surged 39% Y/Y to 1.75M tons, helped by a boost from an acquisition and strong demand from the automotive sector, but fell 13% from Q4 shipments of ~2M tons; average selling prices fell 8.9% Y/Y.
- AKS took a $256M writedown related to its investment in iron ore pellet joint venture Magnetation LLC, citing near-term liquidity issues caused primarily by a recent significant decline in global iron ore pellet pricing.
- AKS had warned last month that it would post a Q1 loss, with a 14% Q/Q decline in shipments to ~1.73M tons, due to high levels of steel imports.
Thu, Apr. 23, 3:49 PM
- Steel companies are higher after Nucor (NUE +3.5%) reported Q1 earnings that exceeded analyst estimates and came in above the company's own earlier guidance of $0.10-$0.15.
- NUE says overall Q1 operating performance at its steel mills segment fell significantly Q/Q, as expected, primarily due to lower selling prices and margins resulting from the high level of steel imports flooding the domestic market, which the company says accounted for 33% of the finished steel market in the quarter.
- NUE reports shipments to outside customers declined 9% and average selling prices dropped 5% during the quarter.
- NUE says its automotive markets remained strong in Q1, and continues to see improving demand in non-residential construction markets; it expects Q2 earnings will improve Q/Q with steel mill margins likely to increase but remaining under pressure because selling prices have not fully stabilized and imports remain high.
- Related tickers: X +4.5%, AKS +6.7%, MT +4.9%, RS +9.5%, STLD +3.5%, WOR +2%, CMC +2.7%.
Tue, Apr. 14, 3:23 PM
- Despite his expectation of continued low steel prices, Clarkson Capital's Lee McMillan launches coverage on several steel makers with Buy recommendations for Arcelor Mittal (MT +5.2%), AK Steel (AKS +4.6%) and Nucor (NUE +0.7%) based on their exposure to the U.S. automotive and construction industries.
- Steel makers that rely on the oil and gas industry, which typically accounts for 10% of U.S. steel demand, likely will be in a rut for a while; U.S. Steel (X +3.9%) ranks a Sell rating for its high fixed costs and reliance on the U.S. energy sector, McMillan says.
- Rated Hold are Commercial Metals (CMC +0.8%), Reliance Steel (RS -1.9%) and Steel Dynamics (STLD +1.9%).
- U.S. steel producers are likely to file dumping charges against China following the release of their Q1 results, but imports will continue to depress U.S. steel prices, the analyst predicts.
Tue, Mar. 31, 10:16 AM
- J.P. Morgan tells clients to short U.S. Steel (X -2.7%), expecting the company to operate at a loss this year.
- JPM cuts its estimated FY 2015 EPS for the company to a loss of $0.25 from its earlier outlook for a $1.57 gain, and sees FY 2016 EPS of $1.42 vs. its earlier view for $3.00.
- The firm believes a strong dollar, weak oil prices and slowing growth in China will weigh on metals demand.
- Also: AKS -3.6%, NUE -1.3%, STLD -2.1%, WOR -3%, CLF -3.9%, CMC -1.8%, TMST -3.9%, SCHN -1.9%.
- Earlier: U.S. Steel to idle Minnesota plant
Wed, Mar. 25, 3:35 PM
- U.S. Steel's (X +1.4%) announcement that it will idle an Illinois plant and lay off more than 2,000 workers is providing a sector-wide boost, as AK Steel (AKS +3.2%) and Steel Dynamics (STLD +1.3%) also enjoy strong gains.
- With hot-rolled coil prices yet to find a bottom and currently at $471/ton, Citi analysts say it makes sense that U.S. Steel would continue to take actions to rationalize production and streamline operations to mitigate costs.
- Perhaps even more important, firing 2K-plus employees likely will be used as further evidence of damage to the U.S. steelmaking industry from high imports flows that were primarily responding to elevated U.S. price premiums, boosting the case for higher tariffs, Citi says.
Fri, Mar. 20, 2:39 PM
- AK Steel (AKS -5.2%) is sharply lower after reporting downside Q1 guidance, citing lower than expected carbon steel spot market shipments and prices due to high levels of what it sees as unfairly traded imports, but most other steel names sport nice gains: X +4.3%, MT +2.9%, NUE +2.8%, STLD +1.9%, WOR +2.5%, CMC +2.3%.
- Various factors but especially the strong dollar are sparking a surge in steel imports, resulting in a tough Q1 for all U.S. steel producers, but most of the companies also say Q2 and H2 2015 should be a bit better as demand is fairly strong in many end markets (Briefing.com).
- NUE said this week that steel mill margins for all products should improve in Q2 as it begins to realize the benefits of lower raw materials costs and selling prices begin to stabilize, while STLD said continued strength in domestic steel consumption from the auto, manufacturing and construction sectors should support a stronger Q2 and H2.
- Credit Suisse analysts prefer US Steel in the group "with the caveat that this is a 1-3 year view."
Fri, Mar. 20, 9:23 AM
Thu, Mar. 19, 5:40 PM
- AK Steel (NYSE:AKS) -7.8% AH after guiding Q1 results below Wall Street expectations, now expecting to report a net Q1 loss of $0.23-$0.28 per share vs. the analyst consensus estimate for a $0.01 loss.
- AKS says Q1 operations have been significantly hurt by lower than expected carbon steel spot market shipments and prices due to unexpectedly high levels of what the company believes are unfairly traded imports; AKS expects Q1 shipments of ~1.73M tons, a 14% Q/Q decline.
- Earlier: Nucor cuts Q1 guidance
- Earlier: Steel Dynamics sees Q1 earnings below consensus
Thu, Mar. 19, 5:37 PM
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