Nucor Corp’s (NUE) fourth quarter 2018 earnings per share increased to $2.07 per share from the prior-year quarter’s earnings of $1.20 per share. Sales increased to $6.30 billion from $5.09 billion a year ago. Shares of Nucor rose about 3% in the pre-market trading hours.
For 2018, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based Nucor’s earnings grew to $7.42 per share versus $4.10 in 2017. Sales grew 24% to $25.07 billion, compared with $20.25 billion in the prior year. On December 14, 2018, Nucor said that it expects Q4 earnings to be in the range of $1.90 to $1.95 per share. The company touted full-year 2018 earnings to be in the range of $7.25 to $7.30 per share.
Total tons shipped to outside customers grew 2% year-over-year to 6,687,000 tons and steel mill shipments increased 2% to 5,888,000 tons in the fourth quarter.
Looking ahead, the company expects a strong 2019, aided by the positive outlook on end-user demand and general economic conditions. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, performance of the raw materials segment is expected to decrease in Q1 2019, while the profitability of the steel segment is expected to be similar as Q4 2018.
In November 2018, Nucor declared a cash dividend of $0.40 per share payable on February 11, 2019, to stockholders of record on December 31, 2018.
Earlier this month, Nucor announced that it will build a state-of-the-art plat mill in the U.S. Midwest for $1.35 billion. This mill is expected to be fully operational by 2022 and will be capable of producing 1.2 million tons per year of steel plate products. This project will also create about 400 full-time jobs.
On Monday, Nucor’s peer AK Steel (AKS) reported its fourth quarter earnings and results surpassed Street’s views. The company swung to a profit and sales advanced 12% year-over-year.
Nucor stock, which plunged to a 52-week low ($49.79) on December 26, 2018, had advanced 3% in the past three months and 13% so far this year.
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