Once upon a time, there was an old-line Pittsburgh-based company that became a bottle rocket. The result was U.S. Steel's (NYSE:X) performance Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. The company finished up more than $20 on the day.

Clearly, the United States' largest steel producer blew away anyone who had even tried to forecast its results. Income rocketed to $668 million, or $5.65 a share, compared to $302 million, or $2.54 a share, a year ago. The per-share expectation had been closer to $3.91, while income growth was more than double the 60% net sales increase. Each of the company's segments chipped in to propel second-quarter results, increasing price realizations across all units.

The company's report follows solid performances from the likes of Steel Dynamics (NASDAQ:STLD), Commercial Metals (NYSE:CMC), and Nucor (NYSE:NUE). However, the third quarter is apt to be more of a mixed bag. U.S. Steel's management expects flat rolled and tubular steel to benefit from continued price improvements, which should exceed raw-material cost increases. However, its European operation will probably trend down on higher materials costs.

Nevertheless, U.S. Steel clearly is off to the races. Given its size and increasing product prices, I'd keep both eyes focused on this bottle rocket. Nearly a thousand Motley Fool CAPS players believe U.S. Steel will outperform the market. Why not weigh in with your opinion?  

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. He does welcome your questions or comments. The Fool has a disclosure policy.