Steel Dynamics Boosts Outlook, U.S. Steel On Track After Nucor Warning

Steel Dynamics (STLD) said Thursday that third-quarter earnings are tracking above analyst estimates. That followed guidance from Nucor (NUE), which on Wednesday warned that profit will lag estimates.
U.S. Steel (X), which also updated business trends on Thursday, said profit is running a bit below analyst expectations amid “market headwinds that accelerated” during Q3.
Arconic (ARNC), which makes aluminum products for aerospace, automotive and industrial markets, cut guidance late Wednesday amid production issues in the U.S. and a hit from both lower demand and high energy costs in Europe.
STLD stock rose 1.25% in early Thursday stock market action, following a 9% pounding on Wednesday. Nucor slipped another 2.5%, after tumbling 11.3% a day earlier. U.S. Steel slipped 0.4% on the heels of Wednesday’s 8.6% dive. ARNC stock sank 14.25%.
Steel Dynamics Boosts Output
Like Nucor, Steel Dynamics highlighted lower steel pricing. The big difference is that Steel Dynamics said its output is rising from Q2 levels, while Nucor shipments will fall even more than expected.
“Lower average flat rolled steel pricing is expected to more than offset lower raw material costs and higher shipments,” Steel Dynamics said in a statement.
A day earlier, Nucor had attributed softer-than-expected earnings to “metal margin contraction and reduced shipping volumes particularly at our sheet and plate mills.”
The near-term futures contract for hot-rolled coil has pulled back to about $800 from about $915 when Nucor reported second-quarter  earnings on July 21. That likely has contributed to narrower profit margins.
Nucor may be feeling the effects of increased steel industry supply, which was one of the reasons for caution going into 2022. That could explain why shipment volumes are apparently off more than expected. Nucor made no mention of production downtime.
Meanwhile, Steel Dynamics has been ramping output at its new Sinton, Texas, mill.
U.S. Steel Idles Capacity
Imports also appear to be adding to excess supply. In its update, U.S. Steel said that it idled a blast furnace and a tin line at its Gary Works complex, citing market conditions and elevated imports.
U.S. Steel also pulled forward a 30-day maintenance outage of a Mon Valley blast furnace and a 60-day outage of a European blast furnace.
“We have quickly adjusted our integrated steelmaking operating footprint to better match our order book and expect our Tubular segment to deliver another quarter of earnings growth,” CEO David Burritt said in a statement.
Revised Steel Earnings Outlooks
Steel Dynamics said it expects Q3 EPS of $5.33 to $5.37, excluding 40-cent startup costs for its Sinton mill. Analysts were expecting $5.03.
U.S. Steel said it’s on track to earning $1.90-$1.95 cents a share in Q3 vs. expectations of $2.09, according to FactSet.
Nucor now predicts earnings of $6.30 to $6.40 per share, well below estimates of $7.56 a share from analysts polled by FactSet.
In its second-quarter earnings statement, Nucor said it expected results to fall sequentially in the third quarter after a quarterly record profit of $9.67 per share. The company already anticipated lower expected shipment volumes and prices, but may have been surprised at the extent of the weakness.
Steel Dynamics said, “Broad underlying steel demand and corresponding order activity remains intact from the automotive, construction, industrial, and energy sectors.”
The company said profits from its steel fabrication operations should top record second quarter results, based on continued strong volume and expanding margins.
Nucor said its steel products segment is expected to have “another strong quarter,” with earnings roughly in line with the second quarter of 2022.
Raw materials segment earnings also are expected to be similar to the second quarter of 2022. And Nucor said it’s still on track for its most profitable year ever. That suggests things may be stabilizing at a lower level, rather than snowballing.
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