Shares of US Steel (NYSE: X) and others in the steel sector are stronger Wednesday following positive comments Morgan Stanley analyst Evan Kurtz, who sees a paradigm shift in the industry and, as a result, upgraded the sector to Attractive and raised company price targets by an average of 40%.
The firm's top picks in the sector are Overweight-rated US Steel and Steel Dynamics (NASDAQ: STLD). Kurtz raised his price target on US Steel from $35 to $60 and his Steel Dynamics price target from $21 to $28. Meanwhile, he raised his price target on Equalweight-rated AK Steel (NYSE: AKS) from $5 to $10 and Nucor Corp. (NYSE: NUE) from $58 to $62. Underweight-rated Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCHN) had its target cut from $28 to $25.
Kurtz sees a runway to mid-cycle. "We believe the era of significant mini-price cycles in the US is ending and the steel market is approaching healthier mid-cycle conditions. Utilization has just reached ~80%, with more upside to the ~85% typical at mid-cycle."
On the paradigm shift, Kurtz said, "Mini-cycles stemmed from poor pricing discipline, import order patterns, lean inventories, and short lead times. We believe the impact from the first two will be muted by consolidation and new trade restrictions. Improved supply-demand will alter the inventory and lead time environment. We expect these changes to lead to higher operating rates, less volatile pricing, and better fixed cost absorption. On average, our price target moves factor in a 15% improvement in mid-cycle EBITDA and a 6% increase in mid-cycle multiples."
Five factors cited for the industry upgrade were:
1) Further consolidation
2) A return of capacity utilization to the 80%+ range
3) New import duties and potential for further cases
4) Improving underlying demand
5) A structural increase in service center inventories
Elaborating on industry consolidation, he notes there have been two major M&A transactions that materially increased market share concentration among flat-rolled mills. ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal acquired ThyssenKrupp Alabama, while AK Steel and Steel Dynamics each acquired one of Severstal North America’s two mills. They expect consolidation to continue, with Gallatin Steel reportedly up for sale according to Steel Market Update. The analyst views consolidation as healthy for the steel industry and sees Gallatin being a strong match for either Steel Dynamics (regional fit) or US Steel (head start on EAF strategy). The analyst likens steel industry consolidation as similar in nature to the recent transformation of the airline industry.
Overweight price target of $60.00 (from $35.00)
For an analyst ratings summary and ratings history on US Steel click here. For more ratings news on US Steel click here.
Shares of US Steel closed at $38.14 yesterday.
Schwab covered my stock short position ( calls assigned ) without even calling me; they can's find any shares to short even at 11% interest charges. I think I am going to go long at 16.5 and below. Looks like CLF will maintain their 4% dividend yield, and bankruptcy is not here yet.
The option market tells the story. There are little interest anywhere in August, with puts open interest and volume outpacing the calls. Trading range 18 to 15.5 for the nest three months. The directors/CEO BS is just a red herring.
I agree! This unhealthy spike meant a little short covering, and nothing more. I am not sure this dog would retreat to the teens, but retest of 22.5 is possible when the general market corrects. NUE, and STLD shows a lot less reaction, and NUE can't even finish in the black.
I always look at FCX; this dog has the biggest capitalization and it missed the big rally this week. GG is way too expensive, and there is no justification for this move. That said, what do I know?
I agree, last time it rallies to 27.75 on Sep 6, 2013, but this time the pull back could be smaller, 23-24 is reasonable; way overdone this time with this crazy week.
X is supposed to earn 1.78 this year, and 2.30 next, but so what? Give this dog a 10X PE: 18 price target this year and 23 in 2015. There are better stocks somewhere else.
..going lower. It is acting just like last year this time, straight down till June. House of pain till October 2014. Fduck you: Zack, and Seeking Alfa..etc.
I was saying that myself this time last year. Then it went from 24 where I bought it to 15 and change. What a house of pain for 9 months; this dog is going to 22-23 level at least.
The best of the breed is not NEM, it is GG; plenty of cash and all in production cost less then 1,000.00 oz. That said, NEM is not that bad; I still think the sell of is that they use 1,300.00 per oz as 2014 gold price is 250 dollars more than ABX and GG use, also NEM all in production cost is too high. Again, having said that, the sell of is way overdone.
" What does a gold miner have to do to go up these days? Sure, it’s understandable that Yamana Gold (AUY) would be falling today thanks to a Raymond James downgrade, but Newmont Mining (NEM)?
Newmont’s fourth-quarter production soared, and earnings could come in 30% to 40% higher than estimates of 39 cents, Sterne Agee’s Michael Dudas, and Satyadeep Jain say. Newmont also plans to spend as little as $1.3 billion this year, also lower than expected.
So what went wrong? Citigroup’s Brian Yu takes a gander:
2014 Guidance Looks Lower on Production and Higher on Costs. [Newmont] is breaking from its historical reporting convention and guiding on a consolidated basis, expecting production of 5.0-5.4 mln ozs at a cash cost of $740-$790/oz compared to our prior estimate at 5.4 mln ozs at $685/oz. The midpoint of guidance would suggest equity gold production of ~4.7 mlm ozs vs 5.1 mlm ozs for 2013. "
This is just BS, way over reaction!