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Nucor posts plunge in Q3'19 earnings due to low steel prices, flags weaker Q4

U.S. steelmaker Nucor Corp. on Oct. 22 reported third-quarter earnings of US$275 million, tumbling from US$676.7 million a year ago, with EPS falling to 90 cents from US$2.13 amid steel market weakness.

The comparable period included a noncash impairment of US$110 million related to Nucor's natural gas well assets and a gain of US$24.8 million related to insurance recoveries.

EPS was higher than the range of 75 cents to 80 cents the company flagged in September.

Nucor expects fourth-quarter earnings to be lower than the third quarter, with performance across the steel mills, raw materials and steel products segments expected to fall due to lower steel prices, further margin compression, and the impact of a planned outage at its direct reduced iron plant in Louisiana continuing until mid-November.

Net sales decreased 19% year over year to US$5.46 billion for the third quarter, with EBIT falling to US$380 million from US$922.5 million.

The average sales price per ton fell 13% from year-ago levels, with steel shipments down 8% to 5.79 million tons. Total shipments to customers fell 7% to 6.56 Mt.

Nucor's capital expenditure for the first nine months of 2019 jumped to US$984.6 million from US$624.7 million the year before.

Nucor declared a dividend of 40 cents per share payable Nov. 8 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 27.

Earnings for the first nine months fell to US$1.16 billion from US$1.71 billion in the corresponding period of 2018.