The Fort Wayne steel recycler, which operates a mill in Pittsboro, west of Indianapolis, picked up the buy rating as Morgan Stanley slapped a downgrade on a giant competitor, Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor Corp.
Steel Dynamics shares stand at $37.51, up from last week's close of $35.93 and a far cry from the $3 range it traded in as recently as 2003.
The company in early March boosted its first-quarter earnings guidance to between $1.25 and $1.30 a share from $1.10 to $1.20 per share. Prices for the flat-rolled steel it makes were outpacing the rising costs of raw materials, it said.
Unlike integrated mills that turn iron ore into steel, Steel Dynamics melts scrap metal with an electric arc. In addition to flat-roll products, the company sells steel bars and beams.