Wednesday, October 17, 2012

RS Sell Thesis

Today we sold all of our 90 shares of Reliance Steel (RS) at the price of $53.52. This represents a loss of 3.85%. The company continues to do well, but it is not reflective in their stock price. This is a great example of a great company, but a bad stock. We bought in at the tail end of a 40% upswing and the stock plateaued after we bought it. The thesis when we originally bought this stock was based on improving steel demand and steel pricing. While this thesis held true for a few months, it turned for the worse and the steel industry as a whole suffered. The steel industry currently is not doing well due to a very high supply, but weakening  demand. This is driving prices down which is hurting all companies throughout the industry. A big driver of the industry is China because they have a very high demand for steel. With their economy currently slowing, it is hurting the steel industry as whole, even companies with minimal exposure such as Reliance Steel. RS has beat estimates for the first and second quarters of this year, but in the last conference call, management lowered guidance for the second half of the year, which was slightly below the streets estimates. So I felt as if this was a good time to sell out with minimal losses. The stock usually does better in the first two quarters and then regresses. If the stock becomes favorable again at a lower price before the first quarter of 2013, it may be a good opportunity to buy back in.

-John Astarita

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