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(NUE) - Get Nucor Corporation Report

raised earnings guidance Tuesday, citing strong shipments and lower-than-expected raw materials costs.

The steelmaker expects to earn $1.25 to $1.35 a share in the second quarter, up from its old forecast of $1.10 to $1.20 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting earnings of $1.26 a share in the period.

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"Continued strong demand and improving pricing, along with record-setting production, have favorably impacted the second quarter," the company said. "In addition, raw material costs have not increased as much as anticipated. We expect these strong business conditions to continue through the third quarter and well into the fourth quarter.

"Nucor is well-positioned to benefit from improving nonresidential construction markets, which generate demand for products manufactured by both segments of our business," it said. "Nucor also continues to benefit from the breadth of our product diversity."

The stock gained 45 cents, or 1%, to $47.66 early Tuesday.