Low Demand, Flat Rolled Profits

Weak. That's how John B. Corey, Armco Inc.'s director of corporate strategy, sizes up business for the U. S. steel industry this year. A continuing falloff in demand from auto and construction companies could cut total steel shipments by 7%, to 78 million tons. Meanwhile, rising costs for energy, materials, and labor may boost overall expenses by 4%--an increase steelmakers won't be able to offset by raising prices.

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