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Nucor sees Q2 earnings nearly doubling QOQ on higher prices

Nucor Corp. expects its second quarter earnings to "increase significantly" over the first quarter on the back of higher prices and profitability, according to a June 14 release.

The company guided for earnings in the US$2.05 to US$2.10 per diluted share range, as compared to US$1.10 per diluted share in the first quarter and US$1 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2017. It noted that earnings in the first quarter were hit by a US$21.8 million expense.

Nucor said it expects the performance of its steel mills segment "to be significantly improved in the second quarter of 2018 as compared to the first quarter of 2018" and pointed to higher selling prices and profitability, in particular at its steel sheet mills. The company also said that market conditions are "much stronger" and had been given a boost "by deregulation, tax reform and higher, stable oil prices."

The steel company was buoyant about its prospects for the rest of the year.

"Based on the current steel market fundamentals and communications with our customers, we are confident in our belief that there is sustainable strength in steel end use markets," Nucor said in the release. "Our steel mill and steel product backlogs are robust and have trended upward since the beginning of the year. We therefore expect strong performance and profitability to continue through the remainder of the year."

Earnings in the first quarter, which slid slightly, were US$354.2 million on net sales of US$5.57 billion.

Nucor did not mention U.S. steel tariffs in its earnings guidance, but it is widely expected to benefit from the measures that President Donald Trump enacted in March.

Back then, Nucor detailed its support for the measures and John Ferriola, Nucor chairman, president and CEO thanked Trump in a statement "for taking decisive and meaningful action to address the massive flood of dumped and illegally subsidized steel imports into the United States."

Countries hit by the tariffs have since promised countermeasures targeting U.S. imports, including steel and aluminum products, which are also subject to a tariff.