CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Nucor Corporation (NYSE: NUE) announced today guidance for its fourth quarter ending December 31, 2012. Nucor expects fourth quarter results to be in the range of $0.25 to $0.30 per diluted share. This represents a decrease from the third quarter of 2012 earnings of $0.35 per diluted share and from the fourth quarter of 2011 earnings of $0.43 per diluted share. Projected fourth quarter results include an estimated LIFO credit of $29 million ( $0.06 per diluted share) compared to a credit of $84 million in the third quarter of 2012 ( $0.16 per diluted share) and a charge of $52 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 ( $0.11 per diluted share).
Third quarter of 2012 results include non-cash inventory related purchase accounting charges of approximately $28.2 million ( $0.06 per diluted share) associated with our acquisition of Skyline Steel LLC, and a loss on the sale of the assets of Nucor Wire Products Pennsylvania, Inc. of $17.6 million ( $0.04 per diluted share). Fourth quarter of 2011 results were impacted by a non-cash gain of $29.0 million ( $0.06 per diluted share) for the correction of an actuarial calculation related to the medical plan covering certain eligible early retirees.
As we expected, our profitability has decreased in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter of 2012. This decrease is mainly due to a smaller LIFO credit in the fourth quarter and lower margins in the steel business. Lower steel mill margins are primarily impacting our bar and plate steel mills reflecting the cumulative impact of high import levels and general economic uncertainty. Sheet mill margins are improved in the fourth quarter after bottoming in the third quarter of 2012.