8. Nucor ( NUE) and its affiliates are engaged in the manufacture of steel and steel products. Nucor also produces direct reduced iron for use in the company's steel mills. The company's operations are structured into three segments: steel mills, steel products and raw materials.

For the first quarter of 2011, Nucor reported net earnings of $159.8 million or 50 cents per share, compared to $31 million or 10 cents per share in the same quarter of the prior year. Notably, the company swung to net income from net loss in the fourth quarter 2010, surpassing the company's guidance range. Meanwhile, net sales were up 32% to $4.83 billion, led by a 22% increase in average sales price per ton. Further, Nucor's steel mills operating rates increased to 80% from 73% year-on-year and 63% sequentially.

The company's current dividend yield is 3.13%. The first quarter 2011 dividend payout was 36.25 cents per share, representing Nucor's 152nd consecutive quarterly cash dividend.

Of the 14 analysts covering the stock, 43% recommend a buy and 36% rate a hold. Data from Bloomberg has analysts predicting an average 12-month price target of $49.25, about 20.3% higher than the stock's recent price.

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