) -- Shares of

Schnitzer Steel

(SCHN) - Get Report

were sinking Monday after the company said it expected lower 2012 fiscal first-quarter earnings on weaker global market conditions for recycled metals.

Shares of the the Portland, Ore.- based company were at $42.88, down $2.85, or 6.2%, after it said it expected earnings in the first quarter of 18 cents to 25 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast first-quarter profit of 55 cents.

"Heightened global recessionary concerns, stemming primarily from the European debt crisis which escalated during the quarter, resulted in a significant slowdown in buying patterns and a sharp decline in sales prices," the company said in a statement.

Schnitzer said it expects its first-quarter operating income at its auto parts business to be 30% lower than the 2011 fiscal first quarter. The company added that sales prices began to strengthen at the end of the quarter, but that it did not expect to see the benefits until later in the second quarter.

Stocks in the steel sector were trading lower Monday. Shares of


(NUE) - Get Report

were at $38.46, down 53 cents, or 1.4%;

U.S. Steel

(X) - Get Report

shares were falling to $24.30, down $1.57, or 6.1%;


(MT) - Get Report

was sliding to $16.89, down 27 cents, or 1.6%; shares of

Steel Dynamics

(STLD) - Get Report

were at $12.24, down 26 cents, or 2.1%;

AK Steel

(AKS) - Get Report

was slightly lower at $7.51, down 1 cent, or 0.1%.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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