High metal prices, tight supply levels and strong customer demand combined to boost second-quarter profits at Reliance Steel ( RS) well above Wall Street estimates.

The company said Thursday that net income rose to $52.8 million, or $1.62 per share, from $6.4 million, or 20 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected earnings per share of $1.54 according to Thomson First Call.

Net income in the latest quarter included a pretax accounting expense amount of $32.5 million, or 60 cents a share.

Sales soared 67% to $760.8 million, from $456.3 million.

Reliance said that although customer demand was expected to grow steadily, certain prices may begin to contract slightly with the potential for additional product availability. That, along with some seasonal slowness during the summer months, may cause profit margins to decline "somewhat" in the third quarter.

The company expects to earn $1 to $1.20 a share in the third quarter, above the First Call estimate of 93 cents.

Shares of Reliance were recently trading at $41.11, down 51 cents, or 1.23%.

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