Nucor, SDI forecasts fall short of Wall Street estimates

Dec 16, 2010 | 01:51 PM |

A rapid fourth-quarter run-up in scrap and steel prices won't be enough to boost earnings during the period for two of the nation's leading electric furnace steel producers.

Nucor Corp., Charlotte, N.C., and Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI), Fort Wayne, Ind., each issued fourth-quarter earnings guidance Thursday indicating they would miss consensus Wall Street estimates.

"Both companies pointed to the obvious weakness in the quarter, but both companies also mentioned strength picking up toward the end of December, and we were particularly surprised to see Nucor find a silver lining in rising prices and a pickup in volumes that might lead to a more encouraging first quarter," Michelle Applebaum, analyst at Steel Market Intelligence, Chicago, said.

Nucor, in qualitative guidance issued in October, warned that the fourth quarter could be the most challenging of the year, given continued weakness in residential and nonresidential construction, two of its key market segments.

"Our fourth-quarter results will unfortunately confirm these concerns," Nucor said, indicating quarterly results will show a loss of 10 to 15 cents per diluted share. Wall Street consensus estimates pegged quarterly profits at about 4 cents per share.....

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