CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Nucor Corporation (NYSE: NUE) announced today guidance for its third quarter ending October 1, 2011. Nucor expects third quarter results to be in the range of $0.45 to $0.55 per diluted share. This represents a decrease of approximately 40% - 50% from second quarter of 2011 earnings of $0.94 per diluted share, but an increase of 540% - 690% over third quarter of 2010 earnings of $0.07 per diluted share. Projected third quarter results include an estimated LIFO charge of $29 million ( $0.06 per diluted share) compared to charges of $32 million in the second quarter of 2011 ( $0.06 per diluted share) and $50 million in the third quarter of 2010 ( $0.10 per diluted share).
As we expected, our profitability has deteriorated in the third quarter compared to the second quarter of 2011 but continues well ahead of 2010 levels. The recent deterioration reflects lower steel prices and metal margins, particularly for sheet mill products, due to new domestic supply, increased imports and continued high raw material costs. While we have seen some pricing increases in sheet mill products just recently, the fundamentals here are still difficult at best. On the positive side, scrap prices have remained relatively stable during the third quarter. End markets such as automotive, heavy equipment, energy and general manufacturing have continued to experience some real demand improvement, benefiting special bar quality, sheet and plate products. We do expect continued stability in order rates as raw material prices have been less volatile than in 2010, and our customers continue to operate with minimal inventories. As is our practice, we will provide qualitative guidance for fourth quarter 2011 earnings in our third quarter 2011 earnings release.