AK Steel Reaches Year High on 1Q Profit Surge

Helped by improved prices and higher shipments, shares of AK Steel (NYSE:AKS) jumped 6% to a 52-week high on Tuesday after the steel manufacturer revealed a stronger-than-expected jump in first-quarter profit.

The West Chester, Ohio-based company posted net income of $8.7 million, or 8 cents a share, compared with $1.9 million, or 2 cents a share, in the same quarter last year, ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of a penny.

Revenue for the maker of flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steels and tubular products was $1.58 billion, up from $1.4 billion a year ago, led by higher shipments, which reached 1.4 million tons during the quarter.

Average selling prices, which climbed about 9% from the year-earlier period, were fueled by richer product mix and increased contract and spot market selling prices.

“AK Steel and our employees again found a way to win by adhering to our core principles in the face of continued economic headwinds,” AK Steel CEO James Wainscott said in a statement.

Looking toward the current quarter, the company said it expects shipment to range between 1.5 million and 1.55 million tons, a reflection of strong shipment gains.

AK Steel sees average per-ton selling prices increasing 7% from the first-quarter, which the company said will help it attain an operating profit of $65 per ton.