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U.S. Steel Absorbing 'Steel Industry Pain,' Barclays Says

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U.S. Steel Absorbing 'Steel Industry Pain,' Barclays Says

In a new report, analysts at Barclays updated their outlook for United States Steel Corporation (NYSE: X). Analysts note that U.S. Steel has done everything it can do to reduce costs and weather the current weak steel market environment, but they currently see limited upside for the stock.

Difficult Q1

According to the report, U.S. Steel was at the mercy of a horrible environment during Q1. High imports, high inventories and a struggling energy sector weighed on steel demand and pricing during the quarter.

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As a result, U.S. Steel missed already drastically reduced expectations for the quarter and cut its 2015 EBITDA guidance from $1.1-$1.4 billion to $700-$900 million.

Better Second Half

Analysts believe the second half of 2015 will be better but that the company’s numbers will remain well short of 2014 levels. “We anticipate X’s results to improve in the back half of the year, largely on cost savings and modest price improvements, but we still expect earnings to be much lower compared to 2014 given X’s market mix and likelihood of running sub-optimal operating rate,” analysts explain.

Continuing To Cut Costs

Analysts praise U.S. Steel and CEO Mario Longhi for aggressive cost-cutting efforts that have included shutting down three blast furnaces and laying off workers. These policies are projected to save the company a much-needed $200 million in 2015.

Fairly Valued

Barclays analysts see U.S. Steel’s stock as fairly valued at current levels, although they do add that a potential pricing inflection point could serve as a catalyst for the stock. Barclays has an Equal Weight rating on U.S. Steel and a $24 target on the stock.

Latest Ratings for X

DateFirmActionFromTo
Nov 2020GLJ ResearchUpgradesHoldBuy
Oct 2020ScotiaBankMaintainsSector Outperform
Aug 2020CitigroupMaintainsNeutral

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