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Metal & Mining Stocks: Winners & Losers

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - The metals and mining sector experienced an advance-to-decliners ratio of six to 73, despite positive trends in commodity prices and strong quarterly results. With investors becoming wary of deepening U.S. debt crisis, market sentiment was subdued the past week. Aluminum Corporation of China (ACH) and Gold Fields (GFI) were among the six gainers over the week.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Metals and Mining Index slumped 5.9%.

Despite strong quarterly earnings recorded and favorable commodity prices past week, stocks like Patriot Coal (PCX) and Harsco (HSC) slumped 24% and 13.6% respectively. Among others, coal producers like Westmoreland Coal (WLB) and James River Coal (JRCC) shed 12.7% and 12.5%, respectively.

Below, the stocks are stacked in the order of losers to gainers.

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5. AK Steel Holding (AKS), through its wholly owned subsidiary, engages in the production of flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steels and tubular products. The company's operations include seven steelmaking and finishing plants located in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The company's operations include European trading companies that buy and sell steel, steel products and other materials. The stock eroded 23.1% value during the week.

Past week, Moody's Investors Service assigned its junk-level ratings on AKS Steel and placed it on watch for a possible downgrade, driven by challenges associated with the slow and bumpy recovery in the steel industry. Furthermore, the company believes that stiff cost pressures, especially in iron ore and coking coal, has forced the rating agency to affirm a Ba2 rating, which is two levels into junk.

For the third quarter of 2011, the company estimates average selling price almost 1% lower, while raw material costs could surpass 2011 second-quarter levels. With these drawbacks, the company has lowered its 2011 third-quarter operating profit to $15 per ton from $46 per ton prior quarter.

However, on a positive note, of the 16 analysts covering the stock, 50% suggest a buy and 32% recommend a hold. On average, analysts estimate 36.3% upside to $16.56 in value from current levels.

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