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US steelmaker Nucor flags record-high FY'18 earnings

Nucor Corp. expects to set a new annual record by reporting full year consolidated EPS for 2018 in the range of US$7.25 to US$7.30, an increase of about 22% from the company's previous record EPS of US$5.98 in 2008.

"The company benefited from strong economic conditions in the U.S. throughout 2018, which we believe was positively impacted by tax and regulatory reform. Additionally, broad-based tariffs imposed under Section 232 have been a tailwind contributing to our expected record 2018 earnings," the Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker said.

The company estimated fourth quarter consolidated net EPS in the range of US$1.90 to US$1.95 as compared to US$1.20 in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Additionally, the company said Dec. 14 that it returned US$1.3 billion of capital to shareholders in 2018, including share repurchases of about US$854 million and dividends of about US$485 million.

During the fourth quarter, Nucor repurchased around 8.35 million shares for an average price of US$60.19 apiece.

Chairman, CEO and President John Ferriola said the company expects "strong demand and higher year-over-year average prices" for most products in 2019.

In late November, the company said it would boost its quarterly dividend 5.3% to 40 U.S. cents per share.