NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Steel stocks have entered a decidedly bearish moment as the global economic recovery comes into doubt.
Whether you're already a shareholder or looking to take a fresh position now, given that stock prices in the sector have declined more than 30% from their April peak, here's what you need to pay attention to for the rest of the year:
The Past: By now, every investor is familiar with "The China Story," as the financial world has come to call it. It goes a little something like this: Breakneck economic growth followed by worries in Beijing about inflating asset bubbles, followed by de facto credit tightening to reduce the risk of those bubbles, followed by terror that the world's highest-flying economy would stall out with a so-called "hard landing."
Steel production in China hasn't slowed, not yet anyway. The nation's furnaces, which produce nearly as much steel as the rest of the world combined, achieved record output again in May, producing more than 56 million metric tons of the stuff. Those numbers would seem to defy the notion that the country had eased back on its growth throttles, a notion that has since March put pressure on prices of commodities as well as metals stocks.
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