Nucor lowers 1Q profit guidance as high level of steel imports pushes prices down

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

Nucor has lowered its first-quarter earnings forecast because a high level of steel imports is pushing prices down.

Its shares declined more than 6 percent in Thursday afternoon trading.

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The company said that it now foresees first-quarter earnings in a range of 10 cents to 15 cents per share. Nucor Corp. previously said that expected earnings slightly above the 35 cents per share it reported a year earlier.

Analysts polled by FactSet had predicted earnings of 41 cents per share.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company said that total steel imports rose 38 percent last year compared with 2013.

Nucor said that it currently expects steel imports will slow in the second quarter, but that they will still be at "excessively high levels."

Its stock fell $3.27, or 6.6 percent, to $46.