CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Nucor Corporation (NYSE: NUE) announced today guidance for its third quarter ending September 30, 2017. Nucor expects third quarter results to be in the range of $0.75 to $0.80 per diluted share. This range is a decrease compared to the second quarter of 2017 consolidated net earnings of $1.00 per diluted share and third quarter of 2016 earnings of $0.95 per diluted share. Third quarter of 2017 expected earnings are lower than the qualitative guidance provided with our second quarter of 2017 earnings release, which stated "Earnings in the third quarter of 2017 should be in a range similar to the quarterly results of the first half of 2017." Though the third quarter of 2017 expected range is less than what we had originally thought earlier in the quarter, this range combined with the diluted earnings per share from the first two quarters of the year would exceed the amount of reported full year diluted EPS of the previous eight years.
Projected third quarter of 2017 results include a net benefit totaling $12.2 million, or $0.04 per diluted share, related to tax return true-ups and state tax credits. Included in the third quarter of 2016 results were charges related to legal settlements of $33.7 million ($0.06 per diluted share) and a net benefit of $11.1 million ($0.02 per diluted share) related to fair value adjustments to assets in the corporate/eliminations segment.
We expect the steel mills segment's earnings in the third quarter of 2017 to decrease compared to the second quarter of 2017. Despite high utilization rates at our sheet mills, continued import pressure has not allowed pricing to keep pace with increasing raw material costs during the third quarter of 2017. The forecasted earnings of our plate mills are expected to be significantly less than what was expected when we provided our qualitative guidance in July. Following increased demand earlier in the year primarily due to inventory restocking in the supply chain, demand in plate end use markets has been tepid. In general, we expect stable conditions to continue for most end use markets we serve.
Nucor Steel Louisiana has experienced unplanned outages for most of the third quarter of 2017 which has caused us to significantly lower our forecasted third quarter earnings estimate for the raw materials segment. The facility stopped production in late July to make repairs to its materials handling systems and to address other equipment issues. We expect to resume operations in early October.
The profitability of the steel products segment in the third quarter of 2017 is expected to be improved from the second quarter of 2017, but less than the third quarter of 2016. Nonresidential construction indicators continue to show marginal improvement over 2016 activity levels.
Imports continue to negatively impact the U.S. steel industry. Through the first eight months of 2017, finished steel imports accounted for an estimated 28% share of the U.S. market and have increased an estimated 16.5% compared to the same period last year. The industry continues to pursue trade cases to combat unfairly traded imports. Final determinations issued earlier this year against cut-to-length steel plate imports from twelve countries are having a positive impact as steel imports of these products have decreased in the first eight months of this year compared to the same period last year. The United States Department of Commerce has made several rulings imposing duties on additional steel products since the beginning of the year that are favorable to the domestic steel industry. We are pleased with the slow but steady progress we are achieving through the prosecution of product and country specific trade cases. We believe this success is due to the overwhelming evidence that our foreign competitors receive support from illegal subsidies.
Nucor and its 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; hollow structural section tubing; electrical conduit; steel piling; steel joists and joist girders; steel deck; fabricated concrete reinforcing steel; cold finished steel; steel fasteners; metal building systems; steel grating; 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) competitive pressure on sales and pricing, including competition from imports and substitute materials; (2) 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; (3) market demand for steel products; and (4) energy costs and availability. These and other factors are discussed in Nucor's regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those in Nucor's fiscal 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K, Item 1A. Risk Factors. 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