Nucor Returns To Profit As Sales Surge

Steel manufacturer said it returned to a profit in the second quarter as sales jumped 69 percent on higher average prices.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Steel manufacturer Nucor Corp. said Thursday it returned to a profit in the second quarter as sales jumped 69 percent on higher average prices. But the company warned it is seeing a general slowdown across all of its product lines as the overall economy enters a new period of uncertainty.

For the quarter that ended July 3, Nucor said its net income totaled $91 million, or 29 cents a share, compared with a loss of $133.3 million, or 43 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. The latest quarter includes a $67 million inventory accounting charge, which was higher than expected due to rising scrap prices. The average scrap cost rose to $373 per ton from $312 per ton a year ago.

Nucor said sales surged to $4.20 billion from $2.48 billion a year earlier and were up 15 percent from the first quarter. The Charlotte, N.C., company said the average sales price per ton rose 25 percent year-over-year and 14 percent from the first quarter. Total tons shipped to outside customers were 5.56 million tons, up 35 percent from the 2009 quarter and 1 percent from earlier this year. Total steel mill shipments increased 53 percent year-over-year, though they were down 2 percent from the first quarter.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had predicted earnings of 26 cents a share on revenue of $4.25 billion. Such estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Nucor produces steel from scrap metal, using electric instead of blast furnaces. Its products include bars, beams, steel joists and girders, concrete reinforcing steel and wire used in construction.

Nucor said it will issue guidance for the third quarter at a later time.

"The most challenging markets for our products continue to be those associated with residential and non-residential construction, which continue to show little, if any, strength," it stated.

Nucor's shares rose $1.04, or 2.7 percent, to $40.15 in morning trading.