The market for steel in the United States and Europe remained weak according to ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT), an industry leader. For the last couple of years this hasn't been the worst problem, but the combination of the recent pullback in China led to a weaker than expected quarter of only 2.6% growth year over year versus the predicted 3.5%.

Optimism remains
Despite the weak first quarter, company management anticipates that the second half of the year should be the stage for a rebounding act. Other European competitors apparently don't have the same crystal ball because they have spoken out against this optimistic forecast. Only time will tell, but with North American and European inventories low, the potential for restocking demand could certainly help.

Joel South has no position in any stocks mentioned. Taylor Muckerman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Nucor. The Motley Fool owns shares of ArcelorMittal. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.