Striking While The Iron Is Hot

If the economy is finally hitting its stride, can good times for steelmakers be far behind? If not good times, how about steel's best year since 1989. The industry's shipments should rise 3.6% in 1993, to 85 million tons, analysts say, enough to boost prices a bit. So after suffering operating losses of $1.5 billion in 1991 and $1 billion last year, the six big companies at the top of the $39 billion industry may earn $500 million in 1993. "At least some will make money," says Donald F. Barnett, president of Economic Associates, a McLean (Va.) consultant.

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