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Steel Stocks: What Will Drive Them Higher?

Steel stocks desperately need something, anything, to save them from their present malaise. What's it gonna be? Take TheStreet's latest poll, to see what your fellow investors think.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Steel stocks, in the doldrums since early summer, are in desperate need of a catalyst.

We

just ran a story

outlining what some of those catalysts might be. No one can deny that strengthening steel prices are what will eventually lift steel stocks into an earnest recovery -- we speak especially of

Nucor

(NUE) - Get Nucor Corporation Report

,

U.S. Steel

(X) - Get United States Steel Corporation Report

,

AK Steel

(AKS) - Get AK Steel Holding Corporation Report

and

Steel Dynamics

TheStreet Recommends

(STLD) - Get Steel Dynamics, Inc. Report

.

>>4 Steel Stocks and How to Trade Them

But several variables could help support prices (could help steel steel, if you'll forgive us the pun) and thus lift stocks in the sector. Here are a few of them:

The price of seaborne iron ore holding up, thus offering some pricing power to steelmakers based in the U.S.

China easing back on steel production, thus reducing the risk of imports flooding into the U.S.

A stronger dollar, which would also reduce the risk of steel imports flooding into the U.S.

The U.S. construction industry offering some sign of life (infrastructure stimulus spending, anyone?), thus boosting the capacity utilization of steel mills in the U.S. Some investors believe that the number must hit at least 80% (it now stands at 70%) before steelmakers can start hiking prices for their products.

Which of these potential catalysts is the most likely to result in a rally in steel stocks? Take out poll below to see what

TheStreet

has to say....

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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>>4 Steel Stocks and How to Trade Them

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.