U.S. Steel Corp (X) - Get Report shares staged a midday comeback Monday, climbing 1.3% to $10.95 even though analysts at J.P. Morgan cut their price target on the stock following last week's profit warning the group linked to weakening global demand.
J.P. Morgan analyst Michael Gambardella lowered his price target on U.S. Steel by $12 to $14 per share, and cut his rating to 'neutral' from 'overweight' after the Pittsburgh, Pa.-based group said it would likely post an adjusted third quarter loss of 35 cents per share and continue idling two of its main U.S. blast furnaces linked to "the impact of falling steel prices through the second quarter, combined with the impact of a larger than expected drop in scrap prices."
"It's the third steel company to provide a disappointing earnings view in just the last few days, with Nucor (NUE) - Get Report and Steel Dynamics (STLD) - Get Report giving you numbers well short of the Street's projections," TheStreet's founder, Jim Cramer, said last week following U.S. Steel's revised outlook. "U.S. Steel forecasts that things are only getting worse as a host of end markets weaken both here and in Europe and remember that's despite tariffs meant to boost its bottom line and cause more hiring, not idling."
U.S. Steel shares were marked 2.9% lower in pre-market trading Monday to indicate an opening bell price of $10.50 each, a move that would extend the stock's year-to-date decline to around 43%. Shares in the group, the country's biggest steelmaker, have fallen more than 76% since President Donald Trump first imposed a 25% tariff on imported steel in March of last year.
"U.S. Steel continues to feel the brunt of weakness in underlying market conditions, due to a) its unique exposure to three particularly weak markets at the moment (U.S. sheet, European sheet, and U.S. tubular) and b) continued low volume/ high operating costs stemming from the ongoing asset revitalization program," said BMO Capital Markets analyst David Gagliano in a note published last week.
"Looking ahead, with our view there is more near-term downside risk in spot prices, and with U.S. Steel's results still 'benefiting' from previously signed higher-priced contracts, in our view the risks for additional downward estimate revisions remains high," he added.