As measured by the Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX) - Get Report , the steel industry has been under pressure lately. The ETF is down 11.5% over the past three months. However, it's down just 2% in 2017 and notably, it's still up more than 50% over the past year.
Credit Suisse analysts upgraded the steel sector to outperform from market perform, TheStreet's Jim Cramer, manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, noted on CNBC's "Stop Trading" segment.
This group had rallied on Trump being elected president. The thought was that big infrastructure projects would be a boon for business, while Trump would take a hard stance on steel dumping from China. Neither catalyst materialized though, Cramer reasoned.
Notably, Credit Suisse also upgraded U.S. Steel (X) - Get Report , Steel Dynamics (STLD) - Get Report and Nucor (NUE) - Get Report -- and Action Alerts PLUS portfolio holding -- to outperform as well.
U.S. Steel is up 11% in the past three trading sessions, but is still down 34% on the year. However, the company remains "very challenged" and has a high cost structure, Cramer reasoned. Volatility remains high, too, as shares are still up 60% over the past year.
Nucor has been less volatile and has a lower cost structure. It's one reason Cramer likes it for the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio. This is a very bifurcated group, he concluded.
Jim Cramer talks about oversold retail stocks on Real Money. Get his insights or analysis with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in NUE.