|11:55 EDT||AKS||U.S. Steel gains after Credit Suisse upgrades on pricing outlook|
Shares of U.S. Steel (X) are climbing after Credit Suisse upgraded the stock by two notches, saying that the company should benefit from an improved pricing environment and raw material cost advantages. WHAT'S NEW: An increase in U.S. demand for steel, along with tariffs that have been imposed on foreign steel producers and the possibility that additional tariffs will be imposed, are keeping U.S. steel prices far higher than previously anticipated, Credit Suisse analyst Nathan Littlewood wrote in a note to investors earlier today. Additionally, production at a number of American steel mills has been curtailed, the analyst stated. Moreover, U.S. Steel can obtain raw materials relatively cheaply, enabling it to produce some of the lowest cost steel in North America, Littlewood stated. U.S. Steel should become one of the most profitable steel makers in the world, according to Littlewood, who upgraded his rating on the shares to Outperform from Underperform and hiked his price target on the stock to $50 from $25. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Littlewood downgraded his rating on another name in the sector, Steel Dynamics (STLD), to Neutral from Outperform. Although the company has a high quality business, the recent outperformance by the stock caused the analyst to downgrade the name. Littlewood kept a $23 price target on the shares. On Friday, UBS wrote that the threat of new tariffs on imported steel could prevent U.S. steel prices from dropping significantly. The filing of requests for additional tariffs on foreign steel, or even the threat of such filings, could keep steel prices from declining in the short-term, the firm predicted. UBS upgraded AK Steel (AKS) to Neutral from Sell, while raising its price target on Nucor (NUE) to $11 from $6 and keeping a Buy rating on that stock. The firm raised its price target on U.S. Steel to $38 from $28 but kept a Neutral rating on the shares. PRICE ACTION: In late morning trading, U.S. Steel advanced 2.6% to $38.81, Steel Dynamics lost 0.3% to $23.24, AK Steel gained 2% to $10.89, and Nucor climbed 1% to $54.23.