Nucor Corporation (NUE) beat market estimates on revenue and earnings for the third quarter of 2018, but the stock was down 2% in morning trade on Thursday. Consolidated net sales increased 30% to $6.74 billion from the same period last year.
Consolidated net earnings improved to $676.7 million, or $2.13 per share, from $254.9 million, or $0.79 per share, in the prior-year period. Earnings in the quarter reflected impacts from a non-cash impairment charge of $0.26 per share and a benefit related to insurance recoveries of $0.06. Adjusted EPS totaled $2.39, topping analysts’ estimates of $2.35.
The earnings performance of the steel mills segment increased sequentially, driven mainly by higher earnings at the company’s sheet mills and plate mills, despite outages experienced at certain facilities.
The earnings of the steel products and raw materials segments were both down sequentially, with the raw materials division seeing impacts from various factors, including an impairment charge related to natural gas well assets and decreased performance at DRI facilities due to outages.
Average sales price per ton increased 23% while total tons shipped grew 6% on a year-over-year basis. Total steel mill shipments were up 7% while downstream steel products shipments were up 6% from last year. The overall operating rate at the company’s steel mills stood at 92% in the quarter.
Total steel mill energy costs fell around $3 per ton on a year-over-year basis, due to lower natural gas unit costs and higher productivity from increased steel production.
For the fourth quarter of 2018, Nucor expects earnings to decrease across all three of its operating segments on a sequential basis due primarily to seasonality. Despite this, the company expects Q4 2018 to be strong, driven by year-over-year earnings growth. Nucor also anticipates strength in steel end-use markets.
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