Hot-rolled steel producer POSCO
Actually, the Korean steelmaker, one of the world's largest, sells a full line of steel products. Company-dubbed "strategic products" sold particularly well this quarter -- automotive and electrical steel sales were both up more than 10% over the prior quarter. Total consolidated sales were up 6.4% over last quarter, and 37.6% over last year. Due to operating leverage and a large cost savings initiative, this translated to a 54.4% year-over-year boost to net income. Cost savings achieved in the first half of the year were roughly in line with an entire quarter's worth of corporate-level expenses, known in shorthand land as SG&A.
Earlier this month, I was tempted to chastise POSCO for its anti-takeover maneuvering. With results this strong, however, I can't fault the company for seeking to keep itself independent. I already noted POSCO's share swap with some "friendly" shareholders, but in addition to that, the firm has been buying back shares. Based on recent company statements, it's safe to assume these buybacks are ongoing.
Strong performance and share buybacks aren't the only factors pushing POSCO shares higher lately. Of the nearly 80% rise year to date, roughly half has come since Alcoa
M&A actually stands for mergers and acquisitions, not metals and alloys, but you wouldn't know it these days. All this dealmaking makes Mr. Market really enthusiastic about POSCO, an ultra-low-cost steelmaker that's still not so large that it can't be considered a takeover target by a giant like Arcelor Mittal
This creates a difficult situation for cheapskate investors: The business is still fetching, but the shares are now fetching a lot more than they were a few months ago. You might want to wait for this steelmaker to roll cold for a while before pressing shares into your portfolio.
POSCO shares have returned over 200% since being recommended to Motley Fool Income Investor subscribers. To find out what stocks for new money the market-beating newsletter is currently recommending, check out an all-access 30-day free trial.
Fool contributor Toby Shute has concluded that fetching is a pretty ugly word, considering that it's meant to describe something attractive. He doesn't own shares in any company mentioned. Feel free to cast a steely glance at The Motley Fool's disclosure policy.