When a sea of conflicting messages rattles investors' confidence in the clarity of their market perspective, I like to turn to the forgers of steel for a no-nonsense glimpse of the state of industrial activity.
Because I had seen the makings for a potential industrywide margin squeeze in recent results from POSCO
Meanwhile, none of the industry's bigwigs are conveying the sort of defensive posture that one might expect if the industry were bracing for a markedly troublesome period. Nucor
Nucor rival U.S. Steel
Amid a flurry of activity in this industry that never sleeps, I found POSCO's partnering with two regional competitors to acquire a 15% stake in one of only three producing niobium mines in the world particularly interesting. Fools will recall that Taseko Mines
Among these demonstrative actions by steelmakers, I perceive a range of underlying motives at work, including: geographical restructuring, productivity enhancement, and raw material procurement (with related cost controls). In my view, this mirrors the disparate market outlooks conveyed by the statements quoted above. In other words, I see signs of an industry that lacks a clear, consensus view of what the future holds.
Fool contributor Christopher Barker can be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He tweets. He owns shares of IAMGOLD and Taseko Mines. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.