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Insteel shares jump I string fiscal 2Q profit

MOUNT AIRY, N.C. (AP) -- Shares of Insteel Industries Inc. jumped Thursday after the steel products maker posted a better-than-expected second-quarter profit.

For the quarter ended March 31, the Mount Airy, N.C.-based company earned $3.7 million, or 20 cents per share, up from $262,000, or 1 cent per share, in the same quarter last year.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 12 cents per share, according to FactSet. Insteel shares rose $1.08, or 7 percent, to $15.75 in morning trading, after peaking at $16 earlier in the session.

Insteel said the recent quarter's results got a boost from wider spreads between selling prices and raw material costs compared with last year. The company used 46 percent of its capacity during the quarter, unchanged from a year earlier.

Revenue fell 5 percent to $82.9 million from $87 million, as shipments decreased 1.5 percent, hurt by tough weather in many of its markets. Average selling prices fell 3.4 percent.

Insteel said recent economic data shows that conditions in its construction markets are gradually improving and that customer confidence is rising.