Only a week ago, Fool colleague Rich Smith wrote on poor guidance from Steel Dynamics
While those two companies do indeed have their issues, minimill and metal fabricator Commercial Metals
Total sales climbed about 50% for the quarter, with net income more than doubling. What makes this performance a bit better is that the company showed sequential growth in a quarter that is seasonally usually the weakest. What's more, good profit growth was attained without the help of the company's Polish business, which suffered from poor weather (which weakened demand) and a strong currency.
More than the numbers and guidance, I liked what management had to say about the outlook for demand. Although management fully acknowledged that a peak would be reached at some point, it believes that the industry has moved beyond what it called the "Freddy Krueger scenario."
What's more, it believes it is seeing demand pick up in Asia and a revival in the non-residential construction industry. Topping it off, while management did confirm that growth in China was slowing, it stated that the "prevalent sentiment that China is in a state of near-collapse" just isn't accurate.
Now I realize Commercial Metals isn't your typical minimill, but that still sounds like things aren't too bad for the industry as a whole just yet.
No doubt that we at The Motley Fool have spent a lot of time lately talking about the steel market -- whether it looked strong or about to roll over. One thing upon which we would all agree, though, is that the fundamental answer to the question "where will steel prices be in six months?" is "I don't know."
What that means is that at some point in time, the price of steel will have peaked, but we probably won't know that until we look back a few months later. Nevertheless, odds are that while the commodities bull run still has some steam, the easy stock market money has already been made from this particular upswing.
For more on the world of commodities, pro and con, try these other Foolish takes:
Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).
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