Nucor profit exceeds analysts’ estimates as construction rises

Nucor Corp., the most valuable U.S. steelmaker, reported second-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates as steel prices rose and U.S. construction markets improved, boosting the company’s revenue from products used in building.

Net income rose to $147 million, or 46 cents a share, from $85.1 million, or 27 cents, a year earlier, the Charlotte-based company said Thursday. That beat the 40-cent average of 15 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The company forecast in June it would earn 35 cents to 40 cents in the second quarter.

The price of hot-rolled steel coil, a benchmark product used in cars and appliances, rose 14 percent to average $677.59 in the second quarter, compared with $593.19 a year earlier, according to The Steel Index, a trade publication.

Nucor shipped 6.37 million tons in the second quarter, 9 percent higher than a year earlier, the company said.

U.S. construction spending climbed by 8.2 percent this year through May 31, compared with the year-earlier period, on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data. Building and construction uses about half of the steel consumed in the U.S., according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

“We currently expect to see a stronger improvement in earnings for the third quarter of 2014,” the company said in the statement.

Nucor melts scrap steel in electric furnaces to produce metal that’s sold to customers including appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corp. and Bluelinx Holdings Inc., a distributor of building products. The company also sells steel used in cars, trucks and construction equipment.