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Deal Mania Strikes U.S. Steel Shares

Takeover rumors infect shares of U.S. Steel Wednesday, but skeptics abound.
Author:

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. Steel (X) - Get Report shares got caught up in investors' deal mania Wednesday.

The move by

BHP Billiton

(BHP) - Get Report

TST Recommends

to buy

Potash Corp.

(POT)

must have whet the market's appetite for more M&A in the broader mineral-metals complex. The Australian miner and Canadian fertilizer producer promise to be wrapped in a prolonged mating dance

after Potash rejected

BHP's advances,

prompting BHP to go hostile

on Wednesday.

According to a variety of reports, the U.S. Steel takeover rumors bloomed on options desks Wednesday morning and spread to the company's equities in short order.

ArcelorMittal

(MT) - Get Report

, the world's largest steelmaker, was named as the rumored bidder.

But the notion was immediately critiqued by industry watchers as highly improbable, since merging the U.S. market's largest and second-largest integrated steelmakers would doubtless draw a jaundiced eye from antitrust regulators.

Late in Wednesday's session, U.S. Steel shares were trading at $49.83, up 5.3% from the previous close. Volume exceeded 24 million shares, compared with average daily turnover of 14.5 million.

U.S. Steel is the latest steelmaker to have its stock swung by consolidation speculation. Back in the spring, both

AK Steel

(AKS) - Get Report

and the much smaller

Commercial Metals

(CMC) - Get Report

saw their share prices spike on takeout scuttlebutt.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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