CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Nucor Corporation (NYSE :NUE ) announced today guidance for its fourth quarter ending December 31, 2010. We stated in our qualitative guidance given in late October that "the fourth quarter may indeed turn out to be the most challenging quarter of the year. The most challenging markets for our products continue to be those associated with residential and non-residential construction, which continue to show little, if any, strength."
Our fourth quarter results will unfortunately confirm these concerns, and we expect fourth quarter results to be in the range of a loss of $0.10 to $0.15 per diluted share, compared to earnings of $0.07 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2010 and $0.18 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2009. The results will be impacted by significant increases in scrap prices and the inability to realize sales price increases quickly enough to benefit the fourth quarter. On the more positive side, utilization rates, while similar to the third quarter, are improving as we progress through the fourth quarter. In spite of the holidays and year-end shutdowns by some of our customers, improving operating rates are resulting in only slightly lower shipments from the third quarter. In addition, we have been able to significantly raise prices for all steel mill products over the last 30 to 45 days. These increases are expected to have a positive impact during the first quarter. We are therefore cautiously optimistic regarding first quarter volume and pricing. On the negative side, it appears that we will continue to experience rising raw material costs during the winter months.
The projected LIFO charge for the year is expected to be slightly lower than the amount estimated at the end of the third quarter.
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" 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 pressure 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, 2009 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