Charlotte-based Nucor Corp., the largest U.S. steelmaker, reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ expectations after demand from U.S. carmakers and homebuilders increased.
The company had a net loss of 19 cents a share, compared with net income of 65 cents a year earlier, Nucor said Thursday in a statement. Profit excluding $206.7 million in net impairment charges and other one-time items was 46 cents a share, topping the 23-cent average of 16 analysts’ estimates tracked by Bloomberg. In December, Nucor said it would earn 15 cents to 20 cents a share.
Some key U.S. steel-consuming sectors have thrived amid a wider global commodities rout. U.S. construction spending climbed 11 percent in October and November compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. Domestic auto sales reached a record in 2015, the sixth year of growth.
Fourth-quarter steel prices plummeted 39 percent from a year earlier to average $390 a metric ton. Domestic producers have struggled as slowing growth in China, the biggest metal consumer, has contributed to a global oversupply and a commodities rout curbed demand for products used by miners and energy companies.
Nucor’s fourth-quarter revenue fell 31 percent to $3.46 billion, missing the $3.66 billion average of 10 analysts’ estimates.
Nucor shares rose 2.6 percent Thursday to close at $36.64. The shares have declined 17 percent in the past 12 months, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Materials Index dropped 20 percent.