Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 61

Sector Rap

Uncertainty and Value in Basic Materials
By Haywood Kelly

Long-term investors who see a Chinese juggernaut down the line would do well to check out these firms.

Among the companies most sensitive to global economic trends are those producing the basic materials that satisfy the world’s growing needs. Aluminum and steel producers fall into this category, as do paper companies and coal producers. In necessity lies their attraction. For contrarian investors, buying these stocks when they’re out of favor can produce fantastic returns. And for long-term investors bullish on global—and particularly Chinese—growth, these are stocks to own. We recently asked members of our basic-materials team— associate director Elizabeth Collins and analysts Dan Rohr (mining), Bridget Freas (steel and aluminum), and Mike Tian (coal)— to untangle some of these questions for us.
Q: Commodities firms are notoriously cyclical. Where are we in the cycle? Dan Rohr: Most basic-materials stocks declined from post-crisis highs in the second quarter as investors grew increasingly skeptical of a v-shaped global economic recovery. Mounting bearishness largely stemmed from the sovereign-debt crisis in Europe and the knock-on effects that a tighter fiscal policy would have on European demand for basic materials ranging from copper to cement to paper. Meanwhile, Chinese government officials have grown increasingly vocal about the need to clamp down on the country’s real estate boom, prompting investor worries

that one of the biggest demand drivers during the past several quarters would be cut off at the knees before OECD demand had recovered to pre-crisis levels. On the flip side, China’s recent statement that it intends to relax the yuan’s peg to the dollar could augur well for China’s basic-materials demand, because a stronger yuan would mean increased purchasing power for importers in China.
Q: Metals prices are down significantly, are they not? Rohr: The biggest concern facing metals markets today is that Chinese demand, which has held up better than OECD demand, will slow. Metals prices have fallen quite a bit from their 2010 highs. As of July 8, copper traded at $3.01 per pound, down 17% from its $3.61-perpound high. Nickel has dropped 30% to $8.76 per pound. And spot iron ore is down 34% to $122 per metric ton from $186 per metric ton. Q: What about steel? Bridget Freas: The first half of 2010 was

to cool its property market are damaging the demand outlook, leading to the announcements of planned or potential steel output cuts for the third quarter by Severstal, ArcelorMittal MT, and Chinese steel mills. The signs of weakness come at a troubling time for steelmakers, which are trying to manage the recent surge in key raw-material costs. Meanwhile, oversupply concerns are building in China: Baosteel and other major Chinese producers have announced steel price cuts for July. Steel production in China fell in May after hitting new monthly records for the first few months of the year. We believe that the country is opting to rein in output rather than face global criticism by exporting any oversupply. Chinese steel exports reached their post-recession high in May, and we expect to see declines going forward. By contrast, steelmakers outside China, such as ThyssenKrupp TKA, ArcelorMittal, and Posco PKX have actually announced price increases for the third quarter. By keeping the supply/demand equation in balance, these major players are hoping to pass on the soaring input costs to their customers.
Q: And aluminum? Freas: A similar dynamic is playing out on the aluminum front, with lower output an even stronger possibility in the near term. Aluminum

bright for the global steel sector, with steel prices catching up to higher raw-material costs, inventories staying low, and noticeable signs of strengthening demand, particularly in the automotive and appliance sectors. The tide may be turning in the third quarter, however, as the European debt crisis and China’s measures

MorningstarAdvisor.com 61


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Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010

Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010
Contents
New on MorningstarAdvisor.com
Contributors
Letter From the Editor
What Aspects of Health-Care Reform Will Most Affect Your Clients?
Bonds, Chicago Style
Investment Briefs
Which Risk Are You Managing?
Eye on the Prize
Advisors Can’t Rely on Fidelity Alone
Health Care Gets Back to Business
An Opportune Time to Bet the Pharm
Reform’s Impact on Other Health-Care Industries
Top Takeover Targets in Biotech
After Reform, Narrow-Moat Firms Have Strong Prospects in Diagnostics
Health-Care Investing Alive and Well
Quest for Knowledge
Four Picks for the Present
How to Make Your Bond Portfolio Inflation-Resistant
Weeding Through the Energy Patch
Uncertainty and Value in Basic Materials
Stock Market Doom-Busters
Hunting Down European Debt-Dodgers
Mutual Fund Analyst Picks
50 Most Popular Equity ETFs
Undervalued Stocks With Wide Moats
VA Sales Slip a Bit in First Quarter
New at Morningstar
Star Wars, the Sequel
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Cover2
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 1
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 2
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Contents
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 4
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 5
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - New on MorningstarAdvisor.com
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 7
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Contributors
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Letter From the Editor
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - What Aspects of Health-Care Reform Will Most Affect Your Clients?
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 11
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Bonds, Chicago Style
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 13
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Investment Briefs
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 15
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Which Risk Are You Managing?
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 17
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 18
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Eye on the Prize
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 20
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 21
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Advisors Can’t Rely on Fidelity Alone
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 23
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 24
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 25
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 26
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Health Care Gets Back to Business
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - An Opportune Time to Bet the Pharm
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 29
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Reform’s Impact on Other Health-Care Industries
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 31
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 32
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Top Takeover Targets in Biotech
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 34
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 35
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - After Reform, Narrow-Moat Firms Have Strong Prospects in Diagnostics
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 37
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 38
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 39
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 40
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Health-Care Investing Alive and Well
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 42
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 43
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 44
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 45
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 46
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 47
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 48
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Quest for Knowledge
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 50
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 51
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Four Picks for the Present
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 53
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - How to Make Your Bond Portfolio Inflation-Resistant
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 55
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 56
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 57
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Weeding Through the Energy Patch
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 59
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 60
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Uncertainty and Value in Basic Materials
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 62
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 63
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Stock Market Doom-Busters
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 65
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Hunting Down European Debt-Dodgers
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 67
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Mutual Fund Analyst Picks
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 69
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 70
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 71
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 50 Most Popular Equity ETFs
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 73
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Undervalued Stocks With Wide Moats
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 75
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - VA Sales Slip a Bit in First Quarter
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 77
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - 78
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - New at Morningstar
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Star Wars, the Sequel
Morningstar Advisor - August/September 2010 - Cover3
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