Nucor Corp. (NUE) - Get Report said on Tuesday that it earned $383.9 million, or $1.20 a share, for the fourth quarter of 2017, including a healthy 55 cents a share, thanks to the recent new tax legislation.

A year ago the steel manufacturer earned $254.9 million, or 79 cents a share.

Fourth-quarter 2017 results included a net benefit of $175.2 million, or 55 cents a share, related to the impacts of U.S. federal tax legislation enacted in the fourth quarter of 2017.

"Future expenses or benefits related to the new legislation may need to be recorded as additional guidance, and clarification of certain aspects of the legislation are provided, but cannot be estimated at this time," the company said in a press release.

The company said its average sales price per ton was comparable with the third quarter of 2017 and rose 14% from a year ago. Nucor said it shipped 6.5 tons of steel in 2017's, up 13% from the fourth quarter of 2016.

Total fourth-quarter steel mill shipments increased 18% from the fourth quarter of 2016, downstream steel products shipments rose 13% from a year ago.

"Imports continue to negatively impact the U.S. steel industry. Total steel imports in 2017 increased by more than five million net tons, or 15.5%, compared to 2016. Additionally, finished steel imports accounted for an estimated 27% share of the U.S. market," the company noted in its press release. "Along with other domestic steel producers, Nucor continues to pursue trade cases to combat unfairly traded imports."

The Trump administration recently imposed 30% tariffs on imported solar panels and is expected to decide shortly whether to impose new duties on steel and aluminum imports.

After President George W. Bush imposed steel import tariffs in 2002, ranging from 8% to 30%, the result was the loss of about 200,000 jobs for the 21 months it was in effect, according to Matthew West, Baker Botts' global projects chair and trade partner. The tarfiffs were repealed after an adverse decision by the World Trade Organization.

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