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U.S. Steel Narrows Loss on Improved Sales

Tuesday, 27 Apr 2010 09:54 AM

United States Steel Corp. on Tuesday said it narrowed its first-quarter loss as demand improved for steel used in products such as appliances, automobiles and heavy industrial equipment.

The Pittsburgh manufacturer reported a net loss attributable to the corporation of $157 million, or $1.10 per share, for the quarter. A year ago, it lost $439 million, or $3.78 per share.

Revenue rose to $3.9 billion from $2.75 billion a year ago.

U.S. Steel is the latest in a series of steel manufacturers who are seeing a gradual improvement in business after struggling through a difficult 2009 when recession-battered customers cut back on steel orders.

The company said steel prices and shipments improved from the fourth quarter of 2009. US Steel also said cost-cutting measures that it has taken in the past year have made operations more efficient.

"We anticipate being profitable in all three of our operating segments in the second quarter of 2010 as gradually improving business conditions should be reflected in our operating results," Chairman and CEO John P. Surma said in a statement.

"We continue to experience healthy order rates from most of our end markets, resulting in increased production levels," he stated.

Argus Research analyst Bill Selesky said it was a good quarter for the company and noted that it is increasing production at some facilities.

"They would not do that unless they thought they had a window here where demand was going up," he said.

Shares rose 73 cents to $60.80 in premarket activity.

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