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United States Steel (X) - Get United States Steel Corporation Report  shares climbed steadily on Friday after the company released strong first-quarter earnings.

Shares traded up more than 12% a half hour after the market opened, to hit $16.16 on the New York Stock Exchange, on news the corporation posted adjusted earnings of 47 cents per share. 

That beat expectations -- Zacks Consensus, for example, was for just 17 cents a share -- and surpassed last year's first-quarter earnings of 32 cents.

Total adjusted net earnings reached $81 million, topping last year's first-quarter net earnings by $24 million. U.S. Steel also posted an adjusted EBITDA -- or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization -- of $285 million. It returned $51 million of capital to stockholders, including $42 million of share repurchases, according to the Pittsburgh-based steel maker. 

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U.S. Steel's flat-rolled and tubular business segments performed well year-over-year, but its Europe segment saw some big declines.

"Over the past few years, we have made strategic investments across our footprint, with a focus on our most critical flat-rolled steelmaking assets," said chief executive David B. Burritt in a statement, boasting of the quarter's "strong financial results."

U.S. Steel's new "endless casting" and rolling line at Mon Valley Works will further strengthen its competitive edge, said Burritt. 

U.S. Steel said Thursday it would invest over a billion dollars to build a new endless casting and rolling facility at its Edgar Thomson Plant in Braddock, Pa. The facility would combine thin slab casting and hot rolled band production into one continuous process, said the corporation.