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5 Steel Stocks for 2012

5. Nucor (NUE - Get Report) and its affiliates engage in the manufacture of steel and steel products. The company also produces direct reduced iron for use in its steel mills. It operates in three segments: steel mills, steel products and raw materials.

For the third quarter of 2011, Nucor reported 26.8% increase in consolidated net sales to $5.25 billion compared to $4.14 billion in the third quarter of 2010. Net earnings were $181.5 million, or 57 cents per diluted share.

Nucor expects fourth-quarter results to be in the range of 22 cents to 27 cents per diluted share.

Last month, Nucor increased its regular quarterly cash dividend to 36.5 cents per share from 36.2 cents per share.

Of the 21 analysts covering the stock, 62% recommend a buy and 24% suggest a hold. Analysts' average 12-month price target for the stock is $44.25, about 5% higher than the current price, according to Bloomberg.

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