Nucor Sees Huge Year - TheStreet

Steel producer

Nucor

(NUE) - Get Report

raised earnings guidance for three quarters Friday morning, citing strong shipments and margins.

The company expects earnings in the first quarter ending April 2 to be $1.95 to $2.15 a share, up from its previous range of $1.70 to $1.90 a share. The Thomson First Call consensus estimate calls for earnings of $1.83 a share in the quarter.

"The first quarter is typically the weakest quarter of the year due to seasonal softness in the construction market because of weather conditions," Nucor noted. "We anticipate that the second and third quarters of 2005 will be stronger than the first quarter."

That would imply upside to the existing consensus estimates of $1.86 a share for the second quarter and $1.64 a share for the third quarter, as compiled by Thomson First Call.

Nucor has been steadily rising for more than a year, going from $27.43 at the start of 2004 to Thursday's close of $57.65. In early trading Friday, the stock tacked on $3.36, or 5.8%, to $61.01.

AK Steel

(AKS) - Get Report

,

U.S. Steel

(X) - Get Report

and

Steel Dynamics

(STLD) - Get Report

all rallied on the outlook.