NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of several U.S. steel producers rose Thursday as key non-U.S. rivals retreated following an analyst upgrade of United States Steel Corp.
United States Steel Corp. led the sector with a gain of $4.39, or 4 percent, to $114.25 in afternoon trading. The stock was upgraded to ''Buy'' from ''Neutral'' by Goldman Sachs analyst Aldo Mazzaferro.
The analyst cited higher-than-expected U.S. steel prices. ''Global markets appear to reflect a physical steel shortage, in our view,'' he wrote in a note to clients.
He added that U.S. Steel ''has high sensitivity to steel pricing and low input cost exposure.'' He raised his share price target to $150 from $128.
Other U.S. steel makers posting share price gains included Nucor Corp., which added 21 cents to $68.09, and AK Steel Holding Corp., which was up $1.07, or 2.1 percent, to $51.03.
''Strong global demand trends are trumping U.S. weakness, and the net-short U.S. market needs to raise imports, being already very low on supply,'' the analyst wrote.
Non U.S. producers, however, were struggling. ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel maker, fell 94 cents to $74, BHP Billiton Ltd. sank $2.01, or 3.1 percent, to $61.98, and Rio Tinto PLC gave up $13.50, or 3.4 percent, to $382.