The U.S. industrial complex is growing well accustomed to biding its time.
Manufacturers waited patiently for some measurable stimulation from President Obama's massive stimulus package, and I'm not sure we have instruments sensitive enough to gauge the lackluster impact of that program thus far.
The unfortunate reality about the American economic outlook is that manufacturers across a broad spectrum of industries must maintain saintly levels of patience while awaiting relief. Steelmaker Nucor posted third-quarter profit of $23.5 million amid merely modest declines in net sales, average sales price per ton, and capacity utilization compared with the second quarter.
Adding context to Steel Dynamics'
Of course, construction-related products like rebar continue to bring up the rear with respect to end-user demand, and one look at the stocks of building supply manufacturers like USG
Impressively, Nucor confronts the specter of all these challenges with an unassailable confidence. The company is moving forward with a $750 million project to build a plant in Louisiana that will produce iron through a process that uses natural gas instead of metallurgical coal. Any Fool familiar with the diverging pricing trends of met coal and natural gas will appreciate the potential cost savings. Met coal is a driving force behind a global supercycle referenced by miner Peabody Energy
Dan DiMicco's enduring confidence in his company's prospects is unmistakable in comments like: "Nucor's best years are in front of us." Whether you agree or disagree, I encourage you to cast your vote by adding Nucor to your Motley Fool CAPS portfolio, and by sharing your comments below.
Fool contributor Christopher Barker is the Nat King of coal, and the wild boar of iron ore. He can be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly in the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He tweets. He owns shares of Nucor and Peabody Energy. Chesapeake Energy and USG are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. CEMEX and Nucor are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
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