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(NUE) - Get Nucor Corporation Report

beat third-quarter earnings targets but said fourth-quarter shipments will be hit by inventory issues.

The Charlotte, N.C., steel giant made $518 million, or $1.68 a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from the year-ago $292 million, or 93 cents a share. Sales rose to $3.93 billion from $3.03 billion a year earlier.

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Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a $1.56-a-share profit on sales of $3.88 billion.

"Earnings for the fourth quarter will be strong, but they will be impacted by lower shipments due to normal seasonal issues and to the current inventory destocking by our service center customers," Nucor said. "These high inventories are due in part to the unexpected continued high levels of imports in the third quarter.

"We expect margins to be strong in the fourth quarter," Nucor added. "Margins will be negatively impacted by lower spot market prices for sheet and bars, but they will benefit from anticipated lower scrap costs. We will provide numerical guidance near the midpoint of the interval between quarterly earnings reports."