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Steel Dynamics Rises as First-Quarter Profit Tops Estimates

Steel Dynamics Inc. (STLD), a recycler of steel scrap, climbed to the highest level in 10 months in Nasdaq trading after reporting first-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates.

Net income rose 59 percent to 46 cents a share from 29 cents a year earlier, the Fort Wayne, Indiana-based company said in a statement after the close of regular trading yesterday. That beat the 41-cent average of eight analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Steel shipments climbed 4 percent to 1.5 million tons.

Steel Dynamics is “optimistic” about 2011 and expects higher steel use in industries including energy and transportation, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Keith Busse said in the statement. Margins at the company’s steel division increased to $132 a ton, said Michelle Applebaum, managing partner at Steel Market Intelligence, a Chicago-based industry consultant.

“Steel Dynamics remains our top pick in the sector,” Applebaum said in a note.

Net income climbed 63 percent to $105.9 million from $65 million and sales gained 30 percent to $2.02 billion.

The shares rose $1, or 5.7 percent, to $18.46 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading, the biggest intraday gain since June 2.

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