A day after steel stocks surged to resist a wider market sell-off, steelmaker Nucor warned on earnings due to deteriorating volumes at its mills. The stock of Nucor fell in early trading on Wednesday.
Nucor expects earnings of $7.65-$7.75 per share in the fourth quarter. That would be a record quarter, up from $7.28 in the third quarter and a year-over-year gain of nearly 490 % at the midpoint. According to FactSet, Wall Street analysts were expecting $8.18 on average.
Despite decreased volumes driven by year-end seasonality, Nucor's steel mills segment earnings should be comparable to Q3, according to the company.
The new terminology Wednesday was the first day of a downward trend since Oct. 21. Nucor management stated at the time that it anticipates its steel mill segment profit to "improve" in Q4 compared to Q3, owing to increased profitability at its sheet and plate mills. In the third quarter, the steel mill segment accounted for 67 % of total business sales and 86 % of overall profit (before eliminations).
According to a statement released on Wednesday, Nucor expects earnings to rise in its steel products unit. It also expects earnings in the raw materials division to dip compared to Q3 due to margin compression at Nucor's direct reduction iron operations.
Nucor said Wednesday that "Demand continues to be strong in most of the end markets we serve," "We are confident that 2022 will be another year of strong profitability."
During its most recent earnings announcement, on Oct. 21, the company did not provide particular Q4 EPS guidance.
Nucor's stock dropped 3.3 % to 114.51 in early trading today. The stock of Nucor climbed 2.5 % on Tuesday, momentarily retaking the 122.16 cup-with-handle buy target, but closed below it. United States Steel was down 3.2 %, Cleveland-Cliffs fell 4.9 %, and Steel Dynamics fell 4 %, among other steel companies.
During the summer, steel stocks went on a tear. Investors expect that the pandemic's headwinds would ease and that President Joe Biden will increase infrastructure expenditure in the United States.
Nucor announced plans in September to expand a bar mill by $100 million, adding 600,000 tonnes of capacity. Nucor also announced the construction of a $2.7 billion sheet mill with a 3 million tonne capacity.