CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Nucor Corporation (NYSE :NUE ) announced today guidance for its first quarter ending April 2, 2011. Nucor expects first quarter results to be in the range of $0.30 to $0.35 per diluted share, compared to earnings of $0.10 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2010 and a loss of $0.04 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2010. Projected first quarter results include an estimated LIFO charge of $31 million ($0.06 per diluted share) compared to charges of $24 million in the first quarter of 2010 ($0.05 per diluted share) and $23 million in the fourth quarter of 2010 ($0.04 per diluted share).
As we expected, our profitability has improved each month from the beginning of the quarter to the end of the quarter, as utilization rates increased and as price increases for steel mill products caught up with higher raw material costs. We expect this trend to continue through the second quarter. We continue to believe that end markets are experiencing some real demand improvement; however, some of the improvement is due to steel buyers reacting to increasing steel prices. Improvement in real demand is most evident in products sold to the manufacturing/industrial sector, including special bar quality products, sheet and plate. The most challenging markets for our products continue to be those associated with residential and non-residential construction. While the market for long products continues to be hampered by weak construction markets and some import pressure, particularly in reinforcing bar, we have experienced some demand improvement due to restocking.
Nucor and affiliates are manufacturers of steel products, with operating facilities primarily in the U.S. and Canada. Products produced include: carbon and alloy steel -- in bars, beams, sheet and plate; steel joists and joist girders; steel deck; fabricated concrete reinforcing steel; cold finished steel; steel fasteners; metal building systems; light gauge steel framing; steel grating and expanded metal; and wire and wire mesh. Nucor, through The David J. Joseph Company, also brokers ferrous and nonferrous metals, pig iron and HBI/DRI; supplies ferro-alloys; and processes ferrous and nonferrous scrap. Nucor is North America's largest recycler.
Certain statements contained in this news release are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. The words "believe," "expect," "project," "will," "should," "could" and similar expressions are intended to identify those forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (1) the sensitivity of the results of our operations to prevailing steel prices and the changes in the supply and cost of raw materials, including scrap steel; (2) market demand for steel products; (3) energy costs and availability; and (4) competitive pressure on sales and pricing, including competition from imports and substitute materials. These and other factors are outlined in Nucor's regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those in Nucor's December 31, 2010 Annual Report on Form 10-K. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release speak only as of this date, and Nucor does not assume any obligation to update them.
SOURCE Nucor Corporation