Commodities & Metals

Why the Downside of Tariffs May Not Kill the Upside for US Steel Giants

The U.S. broad markets saw a big turnaround on Monday after it came public that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was urging President Trump to reconsider his plan to institute steel tariffs. There are many that believe this could spur a trade war that ultimately would be detrimental to U.S. interests.

However, there was one industry that was a big winner from the initial announcement last week: domestic steel producers. We saw the markets crater to close out last week, but the steel industry remained strong. Even though the president is receiving some pushback on this tariffs, steel stocks seem largely unaffected, if not even more bullish. Overall this seems like a skewed reaction.

These tariffs may be horrible for many industrial companies in the United States, but the steel industry has noted the foreign dumping of steel for years, especially by China. In a press conference early on Tuesday, Ryan suggested a more “surgical” approach to dealing with foreign countries dumping steel. However, he did not cite any specific ideas.

Last Thursday, the president confirmed that tariffs would be coming, at a rate of 25% for steel imports and 10% for aluminum imports, starting perhaps sometime this week. He is widely expected to issue new tariffs to protect steel and aluminum companies. Not all the stocks had risen in anticipation of the news, but almost all of them did. And most saw a gain continue into this week.

24/7 Wall St. has tracked multiple stocks tied to steel and aluminum, and most of them saw impressive gains last week, and even into this week. We have also tracked longer trading history over the past year. Consensus analyst price target data came from the Thomson Reuters sell-side estimates.

United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) was last seen trading at $44.12. Since last Wednesday, the stock has risen as high as 9% but now is up just 1.0%. U.S. Steel has a 52-week trading range of $18.55 to $47.64 and consensus analyst price target of $45.46. Its market cap is $7.7 billion.

Nucor Corp. (NYSE: NUE) traded at $67.33. Since last Wednesday, the stock has risen as high as 5.7%, but now it is up 3.0%. Nucor has a 52-week range of $51.67 to $70.48 and a consensus price target of $74.54. Its market cap is $21.4 billion.

Steel Dynamics Inc. (NASDAQ: STLD) recently traded at $47.06. The stock has risen as high as 5% since last Wednesday, but now it is up just 1.8%. The 52-week range is $32.15 to $50.70, and the consensus price target is $52.46. Its market cap is $11.2 billion.

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. (NYSE: RS) was trading at $92.69. Since last Wednesday, the stock has risen as high as 4.3% but now is up 3.1%. Reliance Steel has a 52-week range of $68.46 to $95.97. Its consensus price target is $98.38, and its market cap is $6.8 billion.

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