Steel Mills

Nucor Issues Positive Q1 Guidance Amid Volatile Prices

Written by Tim Triplett

Nucor Corp., the largest steelmaker in the U.S., expects to achieve record first quarter earnings in the range of $7.20 to $7.30 per diluted share. That’s down from earnings of $7.97 per share in the prior quarter but double $3.10 per share in the same quarter last year.

Steel mill segment earnings in the quarter ending this month will be down from Q4 2021 primarily due to the decreased profitability of the sheet mills. While end-market demand remains strong, average realized selling prices in sheet have softened during the first quarter reflecting increased import volumes coupled with modest destocking, the company said.

Nucor expects its steel products segment to generate increased earnings in the first quarter due to continued strong nonresidential construction-related demand and expanding profit margins.

First-quarter earnings for the raw materials segment are expected to be in line with fourth-quarter performance.

“Continued solid demand across most end markets we serve combined with the strength of Nucor’s business model provide confidence that 2022 will be another very strong year,” the company said in earnings guidance released today. “We have recently announced price increases across the steel mills segment and expect profitability to improve. Recent geopolitical events and the resulting price increases for steelmaking raw materials have accentuated the value of Nucor’s adaptive business model and flexible raw materials profile.”

Big declines in steel sheet prices in January and February took the benchmark hot rolled coil price down to $1,000 per ton, putting pressure on margins for Nucor and other mills. But a big surge in steel prices this month prompted by the effects of the war in Ukraine should bolster earnings late in the quarter and later this year.

By Tim Triplett,

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