NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Amid a continuing decline in business during the past year, the metals and mining industry continues to be one of the market's worst-performing groups, losing more than 30% of its collective value in 2015, according to research firm Fidelity.
Although ArcelorMittal (MT) - Get Report, one of the largest steel producers in the U.S., continues to make operational improvements, including cost-cutting to offset slumping steel demand, the Luxembourg-based company can't escape the wrath of the market that has punished anything tied to steel. ArcelorMittal, which produces some 7% of the world's steel, has been one of the hardest hit steel stocks. Its shares are down 18% this year, and 41% during the past 12 months.
Investors hoped for a steel recovery in 2015. But this hasn't happened. And it doesn't appear that even the better-run steel manufactures like Arceor 2015
So with ArcelorMittal due to report second-quarter earnings results Friday before the opening bell, there's no point in placing a long-term bet here, especially when average earning-a-share estimates for 2016 have declined by 12% in the past three months. This suggests, despite how gloomy the outlook for 2015 may appear, things can get worse.
Despite the adjustments ArcelorMittal has made to combat slumping steel prices, the pace of its improvements trails the decline in the industry. In its first quarter, for instance, the company posted a wider-than-expected loss, even as it continued to reduce its capital expenses and increase its shipments. The company's steel shipments climbed 11%, reaching almost 11 million metric tons.
The reason for the bigger loss? Weaker steel and iron ore prices, which also forced the company to reduce its full-year profit forecasts. And it certainly hasn't helped that the strong U.S. dollar continues to pressure the company's sales in overseas markets. In other words, any improvement the company makes is negated by factors it can't control.
For the quarter that ended June, the average analyst expects to see a loss of 11 cents a share on revenue of $17.39 billion. The loss is expected to narrow from 69 cents a year ago, while revenue is projected to fall 16% year over year. For the full year, the company is projected to post a loss of 42 cents a share, reversing last year's 75-cents-a-share profit, while revenue of $70 billion calls for an 12% year-over-year decline.
The company has been stuck in this one-step-forward/two-steps-back scenario for five years. Its shares have fallen more than 70% during that span.
It's time for investors to move on to another stock with better prospects. ArcelorMittal is a broken stock trading in a broken industry. And while the 2.30% annual dividend yield is decent, it's not enough to entice an astute investor to wait for this industry to rebound.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.