Commodities & Metals

Allegheny Warning Melts Metal (ATI, X, TIE)

Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (NYSE:ATI) said today that it expects full-year 2007 earnings per share to be in the range of $7.00 to $7.25 per diluted share in anticipation of lower second half 2007 earnings than previously expected. ATI expects third quarter 2007 earnings to be in the range of $1.85 to $1.88 per diluted share and further impacts in the fourth quarter.  As far as how this compares to estimates: Annual estimates are $7.95; Q3 is $1.96; and Q4 is $2.05.

Here are the two biggies, neither of which are overly comforting for serious metals bulls: Softness in demand for standard stainless sheet is continuing because of higher inventories at certain mills and depots and volatile raw material costs. In addition, a significant reduction in raw material surcharges and indexes is expected from the rapid decline in the cost of nickel, nickel-bearing scrap, and titanium scrap.

Allegheny says it sees continuing growth in demand for our high-value products from the global aerospace and defense, chemical process industry, oil and gas, and electrical energy markets. Shipments under long-term agreements in these markets should continue to grow over the next several years. There is at least one refreshing part: “We do not anticipate a significant impact from the recently announced delay in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner schedule.”  Allegheny also says the softness in demand for standard stainless sheet appears to be bottoming out and inventory levels at distributors are low by historic measures. Demand for these products should begin to improve in early 2008 once the high inventories at stainless mills and depots are reduced.

Shares of Allegheny closed down 4% at $106.65 in regular trading today, but shares are down another 9% at $97.00 in after hours trading.  As ATI is roughly an $11 Billion market cap, this is spelling trouble elsewhere: United States Steel Corp. (NYSE:X) fell 1.3% today but shares are down 3% at $103.50 in after-hours; Titanium Metals Corp. (NYSE:TIE) fell 1.3% today but are down another 3.3% at $31.98 in after-hours.

Jon C. Ogg
October 11, 2007