WEST CHESTER, Ohio ( TheStreet) -- AK Steel ( AKS) continued to lose money in the fourth quarter of 2010, its second period of red ink in a row, but the loss was narrower than investors were expecting and the stock popped in early trading Monday.The blast-furnace operator has struggled since last spring with the rising cost of steelmaking raw materials -- iron ore, coking coal and scrap metal -- amid a worldwide surge in commodities prices. AK Steel's chief executive, James Wainscott, lamented that fact in his prepared statement. "Unfortunately, soaring raw material costs and a stubbornly slow economic recovery -- items outside our control -- overshadowed
That number was better than the Wall Street per-share target of a 63-cent loss. On the top line, revenue came to $1.4 billion, matching analysts' expectations. A year ago, before the raw materials squeeze came home to roost, AK Steel was firmly in the black, earning 41 cents a share on revenue of $1.32 billion. Steel was the word on Tuesday as both AK Steel and its blast-furnace big-brother, U.S. Steel ( X), reported fourth-quarter results. U.S. Steel turned in a disappointing quarter, but said business was slowly improving. On Monday, the electric-arc-furnace Steel Dynamics ( STLD), which uses recycled scrap metal as its primary feedstock, also missed expectations. But a relatively upbeat outlook helped its shares. -- Written by Scott Eden in New York >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Scott Eden. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/ScottEden. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com.