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Nucor (NUE) Provides Q1 Guidance, Upbeat on Steel Mills

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Nucor Corporation NUE has provided guidance for first-quarter 2018. The steel giant expects earnings for the quarter in the band of $1.00-$1.05 per share. This reflects a decrease from $1.20 recorded in the previous quarter and $1.11 earned a year ago. Analysts polled by Zacks currently expect earnings of $1.07 per share for the first quarter.    
    
Notably, first-quarter projected figures include an expense of 7 cents per share related to a deferred tax assets write off as a result of changes in the tax status of a subsidiary. Barring non-operating items, the company expects first-quarter performance to be better than the previous quarter but flat with first-quarter 2017.

Nucor expects earnings in the steel mills unit to improve sequentially in the first quarter. Nucor noted that average selling prices for steel mill product groups have witnessed an increase since the start of this year and the company expects this positive pricing momentum to continue in the second quarter.

There is considerable optimism in steel end use markets and Nucor is also encouraged by recent actions taken by the Trump administration to address the issue of illegally subsidized imports into the United States.

The company expects earnings in the steel products unit to sequentially decline in the first quarter due to seasonality, while earnings in its raw materials unit are expected to improve.   

Shares of Nucor have gained 6.8% in the past three months, underperforming the industry’s 8.2% growth.



Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Nucor currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the basic materials space are LyondellBasell Industries N.V. LYB, CF Industries Holdings, Inc. CF and Daqo New Energy Corp. DQ, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

LyondellBasell has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 9%. Its shares have moved up 12.4% over the last six months.

CF Industries has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 8%. Its shares have rallied 58.1% over the last six months.

Daqo New Energy has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 7%. Its shares have gained 56.9% over the past six months.

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