U.S. Steel Set for Big Drop After UBS Screams "Sell"

U.S. Steel stock hit a multi-year low last week

May 8, 2019 at 9:20 AM
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UBS downgraded United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) stock to "sell" from "neutral," saying short-term investments will not stop the company from losing market share over the next several years. Specifically, the brokerage firm said, "X is investing significantly in its asset base to remain competitive, but the result is negative free cash flow over three years."

This is just the latest in a series of bear notes that have hit the steel stock this week, with no fewer than four firms lowering their U.S. Steel price targets already -- including Morgan Stanley to $19 from $21 yesterday. Overall, 11 of 13 covering analyst maintain a "hold" or "sell" rating on X, while the average 12-month price target of $19.57 is a 19.3% premium to last night's close at $16.41.

And in reaction to today's sell rating, U.S. Steel stock is trading 4.2% lower in electronic trading, set to open at $15.72 per share. It's already been a rough year for the equity, which is down 10% year-to-date. Plus, the security's recent rally off its May 2 multi-year low of $14.16 ran out of steam near its descending 20-day moving average.

Bearish betting has been ramping up on X shares, too. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.69 ranks in the 73rd annual percentile. While this shows that calls have outnumbered puts on an absolute basis, the elevated ranking indicates the rate of put buying relative to call buying has been accelerated.

Plus, short interest on U.S. Steel surged 56.5% in the two most recent reporting periods to 22.18 million shares. This represents 12.9% of the stock's available float, or 2.3 times the average daily pace of trading.

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