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Nucor posts flat 4Q net income, sales fall

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Nucor Corp. on Tuesday reported flat fourth-quarter net income, as the effects of lower costs and an accounting-related gain were offset by a drop in sales.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based steel company earned $136.9 million, or 43 cents per share, compared with $137.1 million, or 43 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2011.

The recent quarter's results included an inventory-related gain of 14 cents per share, which was partially offset by 2 cents per share in restructuring charges. Excluding those items, Nucor posted an adjusted profit of 31 cents per share.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 31 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue fell 8 percent to $4.45 billion from $4.83 billion, below average estimates of $4.54 billion.

The company's average sale price per ton fell 4 percent, while total tons shipped to outside customers fell 4 percent to 5.5 million. But Nucor's average scrap and scrap substitute cost per ton used fell 2 percent to $372.

For the full year, Nucor earned $504.6 million, or $1.58 per share, down from $778.2 million, or $2.45 per share, in 2011. Revenue fell to $19.42 billion from $20.02 billion.

The company warned that it expects its first-quarter earnings to come in below fourth-quarter levels, citing expectations of a small accounting-related charge and noting that while construction markets are showing some small improvements, they remain at historically anemic levels.

Nucor shares rose 11 cents to $47.30 in morning trading.