Which Stocks Will Win or Lose From Steel, Aluminum Tariffs?

The Trump administration has announced it plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports to the U.S.

While there is a widespread debate going on about the impact of such a decision – it may lead to trade wars and turn trading friends into foes – the overall stock market has been on the decline. The Dow has shed more than 500 points, or nearly 1.8%, since the proposal was announced.

This article looks at a few winners and losers that will get impacted by the decision.

Stocks Winning Due to Import Tariffs

A tariff on the imports of the two key metals will enable a level playing field for the domestic U.S. producers and their low-cost foreign competitors. The higher import tariffs will allow the domestic steel and aluminum manufacturers to demand higher prices, making them a clear winner in the long run with higher revenues and increased earnings.

Nucor Corporation (NUE): The Charlotte, North Carolina-headquartered largest steel manufacturer of the U.S. is expected to be a clear beneficiary of the import tariffs. Its operations span across various segments that include steel mills, steel products, and raw materials. It has business operations that mainly cover construction, auto and energy – the top three sectors that are the largest consumers of steel in the U.S. The company is also expected to benefit from the Trump administration’s focus on infrastructure.

United States Steel Corp (X): The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-headquartered company offers a diversified set of steel products and solutions to a variety of industries that include auto, infrastructure, construction, energy, appliance, container, and industrial machinery. Given its diversified customer base, the revenues of the company are expected to jump from $12.37 billion to $13.48 billion, and earnings per share to rise from $1.96 to $4.15 amid imposed tariffs.

Century Aluminum Co (CENX): The Chicago, Illinois-based company produces standard grade aluminum products. Shortly after the tariff announcement, its CEO Michael Bless told CNBC that there will not be any adverse price impact on customers, rather the tariffs allows it “to bring back 150,000 tons of production in its Kentucky plant,” which will also help it invest $100 million and hire almost 300 employees.

The annual supply of aluminum is still short by 5 million tons per year to fulfill the strong demand, which will be beneficial to CENX. Its share price has shot up by almost 10% since the tariff announcement made headlines.

Stocks Losing Due to Import Tariffs

Businesses buying the steel and aluminum products as raw material are set to be hit the hardest. The first ones on the list are the auto stocks, an industry which is already suffering from declining sales.

The import tariffs may have a double impact on such auto company stocks.

First, they will be required to pay a higher cost for steel and aluminum, which are used as raw material for the auto products. It will force them to increase the price of their vehicles, which may further reduce sales.

Second, in case other countries also retaliate by imposing similar tariffs on U.S. manufacturers, auto companies may have trouble when it comes to international exports. General Motors Co (GM), Ford Motor Co (F), and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) are all export-oriented auto manufacturers of the U.S. that may face the heat.

Similarly, other companies that are consumers of steel and aluminum and are export dependent will be prone to reduced revenues and higher manufacturing costs.

They include construction and mining equipment maker Caterpillar Inc (CAT),  airplane maker Boeing Co (BA) and even beverage makers like Anheuser-Busch Inbev ADR (BUD), which has warned about jobs being put at risk as the U.S. brewing industry uses aluminum in about half of all cans and bottles.

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