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S&P downgrades US Steel

NEW YORK (AP) -- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Monday lowered its ratings on United States Steel Corp., expecting weak market conditions will continue to weigh on the steel maker.

The rating agency said that industry conditions are difficult for sheet steel producers as bumpy economic growth has not proven enough to absorb some of the excess supply in the industry. High levels of imports also put pressure on prices for domestic companies' products.

S&P lowered the ratings, including the corporate credit rating, on the company one notch in junk-grade territory to 'BB-' from 'BB'. The outlook is stable, as S&P believes that US Steel has enough cash to cushion itself if the market remains weak over the next year.

US Steel in April reported a first-quarter loss due to tough competition and rising costs.

US Steel shares fell 41 cents, or 2.3 percent, to close at $17.48.