United States Steel's Gloomy Outlook Sparks Analyst Drubbing

Macquarie downgraded X to "underperform" and cut its price target in half

by Lillian Currens

Published on Sep 19, 2019 at 10:06 AM

The shares of United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) gapped lower at the open today, and are now trading down 13.9% at $10.72, after the company late Wednesday updated its third-quarter forecast to a loss of 35 cents per share -- arriving well below the consensus estimate for a loss of 7 cents. The firm cited falling steel prices and deteriorating market conditions in Europe for its gloomy outlook. 

Macquarie downgraded X by a couple of notches to "underperform" from "outperform," and slashed its price target in half to $9, while Credit Suisse trimmed its target to $8 from $9. This adds to the already bleak analyst sentiment toward X; prior to today, only two analysts in coverage had given the security a "buy" or better rating, while the other nine call it a "hold" or "sell."

X is well on pace for its third consecutive daily decline -- a move catalyzed by its declining 100-day moving average. In fact, this isn't the first time the stock has sunk after a run up to the trendline, with two other rally attempts stopped by this ceiling in 2019. This trendline resistance has really done a number on X, considering its 64% year-over-year deficit. 

The stock has already been put on the short sale restricted (SSR) list for today, but the longer-term negative price action has been drawing out plenty of shorts in recent weeks. During the last two reporting periods, short interest on U.S. Steel rose 54.6%. The 51.73 million shares sold short make up a hefty 30.6% of the stock's available float, and represent 4.5 times X's average daily trading volume. 

 


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