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JP Morgan Upgrades AK Steel

JP Morgan upgraded its rating on AK Steel (AKS) to overweight from underweight.

Analyst Michael Gambardella says prolonged strength in domestic steel spot pricing bodes well for 2005 contract price hikes to be negotiated over the next several months. He says with 75% of its shipments tied up in fixed-priced contract sales, and one-third being negotiated by year end, AK has posted relatively small benefit from the rise in steel prices but stands to be a signficant beneficiary in upcoming contract price negotiations. He raised his 86-cent 2004 EPS estimate to $1.05, and more than doubled his 70-cent forecast for 2005 to $1.70, citing higher price estimates for carbon and stainless sheet product contracts.

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