I have owned MSB for three years and have watched the spring swoon three times. This happens because shipping is prevented in the winter due to ice at the locks. This is the time of year the dividend is at a low. The dividend just paid was 0.08, but the January dividend was 0.49
This drop happens every year and it makes for a good buy-in opportunity on a long dividend play. I just doubled my position, I have averaged down with the DRIP and my buy at 20.91.
I made the above post in May. I still think it is a good time to buy in. I think the stock hit it's bottom in the low 17.00 range back in July. I missed that bump down. It was unexpected and set a multi year low. Our Opaque trading Partner - China, has once again been gaming the commodities with innuendo that things are much worse than they actually are. But, they reported good growth. Since then, all my commodity holdings in Iron, coal, copper, and gold have been on a tear - making up the losses from the summer swoon.
I used to own MSB but have sold 2 years ago. The world IR price is down substantially. My perception is that the IR marketing changed 3 years ago. It was based on individual contract agreements and became an index posted daily on several web sites. The world price went from $75 the metric ton prior 2010 to $200 per metric ton in less than 1 year. China was the biggest buyer with Rio Tento and BHL the main suppliers. Now China is not buying in large quantity and the IR price is down to $135.
MSB is not able to participate in the world price because it is land locked around the Great Lakes. Therefore MSB is subordinate to the steel production around the Great Lakes. To explain one of the drawbacks MSB and the US steel industry is the case of the new San Francisco bay bridge. The manufacture of the bridge was done in China and the assembly in San Francisco. The steel tonnage was made in China with Rio Tento, BHL or Vale Iron Ore.
The last time MSB was a really profitable was in 2008 when the mine was shut down and reopen. The distribution went from practically zero to a descent distribution. At the time I did not understand the situation. The following season I got in and did not make the anticipated profits, I was too late. The US economy is not going to support the Great Lakes until it gets going. The government cannot tax more to support the refurbishing of existing infrastructure. Than, the case of California will come into play. Had California gave the Bay Bridge contract to an American contractor, the cost would have been 50% more??