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10/10/2017 6:34:00 PM
U.S. Steel remains nation's 2nd largest steelmaker

Joseph S. Pete, Times of Northwest Indiana

U.S. Steel lost its crown as America's biggest domestic steelmaker by sales to Nucor, the once-upstart mini mill operator in 2010, and it continues to lose ground to the North Carolina-based rival.

Market Realist, an independent investment research firm, reported that Nucor shipped 6.8 million tons of steel in the second quarter, a 4.5-percent increase. 

U.S. Steel ranked second out of U.S. steelmakers in sales, shipping 3.8 million tons of steel in the second quarter of 2017. Its sales were down about 2.5 percent as compared to the 3.9 million tons of steel it shipped out in the second quarter of 2016.

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker, which operates Gary Works, East Chicago Tin and the Midwest Plant in Portage, held onto its second place ranking among steelmakers headquartered in the U.S., ranking ahead Fort Wayne-based Steel Dynamics, Ohio-based AK Steel and Texas-based Commercial Metals Co. in the second quarter. 

"It’s worth noting that U.S. Steel accounted for 67 percent of the total steel produced in the United States in its first year of full operation, making it the largest steelmaker in the world," Market Realist Steel Industry Analyst Mark O'Hara wrote in a report. "However, now, the company is nowhere near its iconic past. U.S. Steel was ranked 24th among global steelmakers based on 2016 tonnage, according to the World Steel Association."

Markets have been bearish on U.S. Steel recently, which was recently downgraded by Crown Group from "market perform" to "underperform." Its stock was trading for around $26 a share this week, down from a yearly high of $39.80 a share in February.

"Meanwhile, despite the recent downgrades, the majority of analysts don’t really see U.S. Steel as being in distress," O'Hara wrote. "The stock has received a 'buy' or higher rating from 53 percent of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters on Sept. 29. U.S. Steel has received a 'hold' rating from 27 percent of analysts while only 20 percent of analysts rate the stock as a 'sell.'"

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