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Nucor's Q1 Earnings Trail, Sees Improved Results in Q2

Nucor NUE saw higher profits in first-quarter 2016, but its earnings missed expectations. The steel giant recorded a profit of $70.8 million or 22 cents per share in the quarter, up roughly 4% from a profit of $67.8 million or 21 cents per share logged a year ago. Earnings per share trailed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 27 cents.

Revenues fell around 16% year over year to $3,715.6 million in the reported quarter, hit by lower selling prices. However, sales beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,648 million.


Operating Stats

Total steel mills shipments in the first quarter were 5,647,000 tons, up 16% year over year. Total tons shipped to outside customers rose 9% year over year to 6,148,000 tons. Average sales price in the quarter fell 23% year over year.

Steel mill operating rates rose to 74% in the reported quarter from 65% a year ago and 63% in the previous quarter.

Segment Highlights

Nucor witnessed improved performance in its Steel Mills segment in the first quarter compared to the previous quarter, helped by lower average cost of inventory and better market conditions. The company saw modest decline in import volumes in the quarter. While the company saw strong momentum in the automotive market, weakness continued across energy, heavy equipment and agricultural markets.

Performance of the company’s Downstream Products segment declined sequentially in the quarter owing to seasonality in non-residential construction end-markets, but improved year over year. The company expects non-residential construction activities for the remainder of 2016 to outpace 2015 levels.

Nucor saw improved performance in the Raw Materials segment on a sequential comparison basis in the reported quarter due to better performance in its scrap processing businesses.

Financial Position

Nucor ended the quarter with a strong liquidity position with cash and cash equivalents jumping around 95% year over year to $2,278.5 million. Long-term debt was $4,337.9 million, down around 0.5% year over year. Cash flow from operations was $550.9 million for the quarter.


Moving ahead, Nucor sees significant improvement in earnings in the second quarter on a sequential comparison basis. The company expects improved performance in its Steel Mills division in the second quarter vis-à-vis the first quarter on price hikes for many of its products.

Nucor also expects higher profits in its Downstream Products unit in the second quarter compared to the first as better weather conditions are expected to benefit non-residential construction markets.

For the Raw Materials segment, Nucor expects an improvement in performance in the second quarter due to better pricing across its scrap processing businesses and direct reduced iron ("DRI") facilities.

Nucor currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Better-ranked stocks in the steel space include AK Steel Holding Corp. AKS, Companhia Siderurgica Nacional SID and Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. SCHN, all carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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AK STEEL HLDG (AKS): Free Stock Analysis Report
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