Nucor Sees Improved Third-Quarter Profit on Steel Prices

Nucor Corp. (NUE), the largest U.S. steelmaker by market value, said third-quarter profit may rise as steel prices increase because of competitors’ plant outages.

Quarterly earnings will be 35 to 40 cents a share, compared with 35 cents a year earlier, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company said in a statement today. The average of 17 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was for 40 cents. Per-share results include a 3-cent inventory credit, the company said.

“Sheet steel profitability improved compared to the second quarter as a result of competitor supply disruptions, customer inventory restocking and some market demand improvement,” the company said. Demand is strongest for energy and automotive goods, while non-residential construction markets “are slowly improving from historically low levels.”  

The price of hot-rolled steel coil in the U.S. Midwest, a benchmark steel product, has climbed 1.7 percent to average $646 a short ton this quarter, from $635 in the same period last year.

U.S. Steel, the nation’s largest producer of the metal by volume, locked out union workers at its Erie Works plant in April amid a contract dispute that was resolved in August. AK Steel Holding Corp. had a mechanical failure in June at its blast furnace in Middletown, Ohio, halting production at the plant, according to the company.

Nucor rose 0.4 percent to $49.47 at the close in New York, the highest price since January 2010.

The company also reported increased startup costs at an iron-processing plant it’s building in Louisiana, scheduled to begin operations this month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sonja Elmquist in New York at selmquist1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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