NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Global crude steel production increased 5% year-over-year to 127 million metric tons in April 2011, the World Steel Association (WSA) reports. Among major steel producing countries, South Korea recorded the highest growth of 15.9%, while India and China followed at 8.6% and 7.1%, respectively.

Meanwhile, April crude steel production increased in the U.S. by 2.1% year-over-year. Furthermore, the WSA reports that global crude steel capacity utilization ratio was 82.8%, up 0.9 percentage points from March 2011.

With China's steel production touching a record 2 million tons per day, the country's steel demand is expected to escalate by an average 10% over the next few years. China Iron and Steel Association expects domestic demand for crude steel to range between 670 million and 750 million metric tons by 2015.

Moreover, China and India are likely to witness stronger steel production and consumption growth in 2012, based on rapidly growing economies. India's steel consumption is projected to increase by 14% and 15% in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

At a recent Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) World Recycling Congress, it was noted that steel and ferrous scrap industries are stable and healthy. Blake Kelley of Sims Group Global Trade Corporation said that world steelmakers are on track to produce 1.54 billion tons of steel in 2011, up 111 million tons from 2010 levels.

10. Carpenter Technology ( CRS) engages in the manufacture, fabrication and distribution of specialty metals with its operations structured into two main reportable segments: Advanced Metals and Premium Alloys. The company provides material solutions to the aerospace, industrial, energy, medical, consumer products and automotive industries.

For the third quarter of 2011, the company recorded net income of $28.6 million or 64 cents per share, compared to $2.1 million or 5 cents per share in the year-ago period. Meanwhile, net sales for the same period soared 37.8% to $464.2 million with sales for Premium Alloys and Advanced Materials increasing 47% and 13%, respectively. Currently, CRS has a dividend yield of 1.69%.

For the upcoming fourth quarter and full year 2011, the company estimates to achieve its earlier growth and earnings targets. On the forecast of higher demand in the upcoming months, the company will expand downstream capacity further and expects to incur capital spending of $150 to $200 million for fiscal 2012.

Early May 2011, the company announced a significant expansion project at its Reading, Pa. facility. The expansion will allow for the installation of two additional Electroslag Remelting Furnaces (ESR) and increase capacity for Forge Finishing and Annealing operations.

Of the 10 analysts covering the stock, 50% recommend a buy while 40% rate a hold on it. Analysts polled by Bloomberg envisage an average 12-month price target of $54.50 -- about 6.8% higher than the stock's current price.

9. Allegheny Technologies ( ATI) is a diversified specialty metals producer with products ranging from alloys and product forms. The company is focused on its innovative technologies and incomparable manufacturing capabilities to offer the global end-use markets diversified and specialty products.

With a current dividend yield of 1.06%, data from Reuters estimates ATI's five-year dividend growth rate at 20.79% as compared to the industry average of 17.77%. The company has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of 18 cents per share payable June 17, 2011. Recently, ATI announced that it has completed the acquisition of Ladish, which will now operate as part of its High Performance Metals Group. As per the agreement, each outstanding share of Ladish common stock has been converted into the right to receive $24 in cash and 0.4556 of a share of ATI common stock.

For the first quarter of 2011, the company's sales were up 36% to $1.2 billion from the year-ago quarter. Net income for the quarter stood at $56.3 million or 54 cents per share, compared to $18.2 million or 18 cents per share in the prior-year quarter. At the end of the first quarter of 2011, backlog for the company's High Performance Metals segment was above $742 million. Going forward, the company estimates revenue to grow between 15% and 20% from 2010 levels. Also, with continuous cost structure improvements, it targets $100 million in gross cost reduction.

Of the 10 analysts covering the stock, 70% recommend a buy and 10% rate a hold. Analysts polled by Bloomberg estimate 17.7% potential upside to $76.50 from current levels, in the upcoming 12 months.

8. Nucor ( NUE) and its affiliates are engaged in the manufacture of steel and steel products. Nucor also produces direct reduced iron for use in the company's steel mills. The company's operations are structured into three segments: steel mills, steel products and raw materials.

For the first quarter of 2011, Nucor reported net earnings of $159.8 million or 50 cents per share, compared to $31 million or 10 cents per share in the same quarter of the prior year. Notably, the company swung to net income from net loss in the fourth quarter 2010, surpassing the company's guidance range. Meanwhile, net sales were up 32% to $4.83 billion, led by a 22% increase in average sales price per ton. Further, Nucor's steel mills operating rates increased to 80% from 73% year-on-year and 63% sequentially.

The company's current dividend yield is 3.13%. The first quarter 2011 dividend payout was 36.25 cents per share, representing Nucor's 152nd consecutive quarterly cash dividend.

Of the 14 analysts covering the stock, 43% recommend a buy and 36% rate a hold. Data from Bloomberg has analysts predicting an average 12-month price target of $49.25, about 20.3% higher than the stock's recent price.

7. Universal Stainless & Alloy Products ( USAP), along with its wholly owned subsidiaries, manufactures and markets semi-finished and finished specialty steel products, including stainless steel, tool steel and certain other alloyed steels. Its products are sold to re-rollers, forgers, service centers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and wire re-drawers for further use in the aerospace, power generation, petrochemical and heavy equipment manufacturing industries.

For the first quarter of 2011, net sales surged 72% to $59.8 million from the year-ago period. Net income for the quarter tripled to $4.4 million or 64 cents per share, compared to $1.4 million or 21 cents per share earlier, beating analysts' estimates for the sixth consecutive quarter.

For the first quarter 2011, total shipments grew 54% year-over-year and 15% sequentially. At the end of the first quarter of 2011, the company's backlog was $92 million, up 33% from the fourth quarter of 2010, reflecting strong performance in the second quarter of 2011.

Of the four analysts covering the stock, 75% recommend a buy and the remaining rate a hold. Data from Bloomberg has analysts reporting an average 12-month price target of $43.33, which is 26.2% higher than the stock's current price.

6. U.S. Steel ( X), an integrated steel producer, operating in North America and Europe. The company manufactures a wide variety of flat-rolled and tubular products. It operates in three major segments: flat-rolled products, U. S. Steel Europe and tubular products. The company's other businesses include transportation and real estate services.

For the first quarter of 2011, the company's net sales grew 24.8% to $4.9 billion from the year-ago quarter. Net loss narrowed to $86 million or 60 cents per share, compared to $157 million or $1.10 per share in the first quarter of 2010. Raw steel capacity utilization in 2011 first quarter stood at 77%, up 5% sequentially.

The company's Serbian unit recently launched a new roll servicing facility worth more than $5 million at its cold rolling mill in Smederevo. For the first quarter of 2011, U.S. Steel declared a dividend of 5 cents per share payable June 10, 2011. Heading into the second quarter, the company expects to record an overall operating profit, benefiting from higher price realization in the flat-rolled segment.

Of the 13 analysts covering the stock, 46% recommend a buy while 46% rate a hold. Data from Bloomberg has analysts reporting an average 12-month price target of $57.57, or 31% higher than the stock's current price.

5. Steel Dynamics ( STLD), a steel producer and metals recycler, operates in three segments: steel, metals recycling and ferrous resources, and steel fabrication. It also engages in the fabrication and sale of steel joists and decking products. Currently, the company has a dividend yield of 1.73%.

For the first quarter of 2011, net sales were $2 billion, increasing 25% from the year-ago quarter. Meanwhile, net income stood at $106 million or 46 cents per diluted share, compared to $65 million or 29 cents per diluted share in the first quarter of 2010. Steel shipments for the quarter increased 4% year-over-year and 10% sequentially.

The company recently announced its plan to build a state-of-the art flat-rolled steel mill along the Ohio River. The company's CEO confirmed that the location is yet to be finalized, but would zero down to a site on the Ohio River. He said that construction is likely to start by 2012 and completion would take a further two years.

Of the 10 analysts covering the stock 80% recommend a buy and 10% rate a hold. Data from Bloomberg has analysts predicting an average 12-month price target of $22.88, about 38.5% higher than the stock's recent price.

4. Metals USA Holdings ( MUSA) provides processed carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, red metals and manufactured metal components. The company's operations are structured into three groups: plates and shapes, flat-rolled and non-ferrous, and building products.

Net sales for the first quarter of 2011 increased 50% to $432.3 million from the year-ago quarter. Net income stood at $12.4 million or 33 cents per share, compared to $0.1 million or breakeven per share in the first quarter of 2010. Metal shipments for the quarter were up 48%, including shipments from the company's acquisitions made during the first quarter of 2011.

Pursuant to its strategy to strengthen its position in the national steel and metals industry, Metals USA has been integrating its purchases and is vying for a few more acquisitions in the future to gain market share. The company's CEO recently said that the integration of its acquired entities -- J. Rubin, Rockford, Ill.; Ohio River Metal Services, Jeffersonville, Ind.; and Richardson Trident - is on target and the company is achieving its identified synergies.

Of the nine analysts covering the stock, 78% recommend a buy and the rest rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. The stock's average 12-month price target is $21.25, about 38.6% higher than the current price, as per analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

3. Reliance Steel & Aluminum ( RS), a metals service center company, provides metals processing services and distributes a line of more than 100,000 metal products, including alloys, aluminum, brass, copper, carbon steel, stainless steel, titanium and specialty steel products to more than 125,000 customers across a range of industries. The company has operations in 38 states through a network of more than 200 locations.

Net income soared 107% to $92.3 million or $1.23 per share for the first quarter of 2011, compared to $44.7 million or 60 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago. Sales for the quarter were up 32% to $1.91 billion with average prices increasing 18% and tons sold escalating 12%. The company recorded an inventory turnover rate of 5 times, based on tons and 4.8 times based on dollars.

With a current dividend yield of 0.73%, the company went ex-dividend yesterday (June 1, 2011) with shareholders eligible for a dividend of 12 cents per share. Beginning first quarter of 2011, RS increased its regular quarterly dividend amount by 20% to 12 cents from 10 cents per share paid earlier in March 2011. For the second quarter of 2011, the company estimates diluted earnings per share in the range of $1.20 to $1.30.

Of the nine analysts covering the stock, 78% recommend a buy while the remaining suggest a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg forecast a 12-month price target of $68.60, about 39.3% higher than the stock's current price.

2. AK Steel Holding ( AKS) through its wholly owned subsidiary, produces flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steels and tubular products from its seven steelmaking and finishing plants located in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Besides, the company also has a wholly owned subsidiary AK Tube. The company's current dividend yield is 1.27%.

For the first quarter of 2011, net income came in at $8.7 million or 8 cents per diluted share, compared to $1.9 million or 2 cents per share in the first quarter of 2010. Net sales for the quarter increased to $1.58 million from 1.40 million in the year-ago quarter. Total shipments for the quarter increased 2.7% to 1.42 million tons, while average selling price rose 9%.

For the second quarter 2011, the company estimates shipments to range between 1.50 million tons and 1.55 million tons, indicating a significant increase over first quarter shipments of 1.42 million tons. In addition, it estimates second-quarter 2011 average per-ton selling price to be 7% higher than the first quarter. Operating profit for the second quarter 2011 is pegged at $65 per ton.

Of the 11 analysts covering the stock, 55% recommend a buy and 27% rate a hold. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect an average 12-month price target of $20.25, which is 39.5% higher than the stock's current price.

1. Ternium ( TX), a steel company in Latin America, manufactures and processes a range of flat and long steel products for the construction, home appliances, capital goods, container, food, energy and automotive industries.

Net sales for the first quarter of 2011 rose 30% to $2.15 billion from the year-ago quarter. Net income for the quarter stood at $243.2 million, or $1.03 per share. Operating income increased to $291 million from $133.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Recently, Brazilian port developer LLX Logistica said that Latin American steelmaker Ternium will start building a new steel mill at LLX's Acu port in Brazil in the second half of 2011. The steel mill has a designed production capacity of 5.6 million tons steel slabs per year, for use in Ternium's steel processing facilities in Mexico.

For the second quarter of 2011, the company estimates higher operating income, driven by improved operating margins and higher shipments. Ternium anticipates industrial activity in Mexico will drive the demand for steel products, and Argentine demand would recover after a seasonally slow first quarter.

Of the 12 analysts covering the stock, 83% recommend a buy and 17% rate a hold. As per analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, the average 12-month price target is $44.84, nearly 46.8% higher than the stock's current price.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 10 Steel Stocks With Upside portfolio on Stockpickr.

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