What: TimkenSteel Corporation's (TMST -5.01%) shares lost roughly a third of their value last month, but because of a more than 200% rally between mid-January and late April, it ended the five-month span through the end of May up roughly 10%. Step back for a moment and look at the numbers, here: Investing in TimkenSteel has been like riding a very frightening roller coaster.
So what: TimkenSteel announced earnings results on April 28, just days before May began. The company lost $0.31 a share. Worse, the company announced that it expects results to continue along a weak path as the year progresses. So, what was behind the massive share price rally through the end of April?
Not surprisingly, TimkenSteel's shares cooled off, too. To be fair, commodities across the board were off, so this decline isn't specific to TimkenSteel or the steel market in general. But that doesn't change the pain shareholders felt last month.The answer to that is a broad commodity rally. On the steel side, a good deal of the excitement was out of China, where iron ore and steel prices were heading quickly higher for a spell. And then what some had begun to call a speculative bubble burst. To give an example of just how swiftly the air came out of the balloon, the Financial Times noted that the price of rebar contracts in China posted their worst month ever in May.
Now what: TimkenSteel was pretty clear in its first-quarter earnings release that times remain tough in the steel industry. And, perhaps equally important, TimkenSteel is still bleeding red ink. For investors interested in the steel space, it's probably better to examine better-situated steel names.