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Universal Stainless & Alloy Products, Inc. (USAP - Snapshot Report) has released its preliminary results for the fourth quarter of 2012. The company expects earnings in the range of 15 cents to 17 cents per share for the fourth quarter.

Universal Stainless anticipates sales to be about $47 million for the quarter, which is lower than the company’s expectations. The company also stated that activity levels across the end markets went down in the quarter as customers decreased their inventory levels given the economic challenges. The company’s shipments also decreased in the quarter. It reported an operating margin of 4% for the quarter.

The company’s end-2012 order entry remained weak. Backlog at the end of the fourth quarter was $51.7 million compared with $65.9 million at the end of the third quarter. The company made progress in the expansion of its North Jackson facility during the quarter.

Universal Stainless produces semi-finished and finished specialty steel long products and plate, including nickel alloy, stainless steel, tool steel and aircraft quality low alloy steels, in a wide variety of grades and product forms. The company’s specialty bar facilities have one of the broadest and diverse size range and product capabilities in the industry.

Universal Stainless is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter 2012 results on January 29. It currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other companies in the steel industry with favorable Zacks Rank are Gibraltar Industries Inc. (ROCK - Analyst Report), ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSIY) and Commercial Metals Company (CMC - Snapshot Report). While Gibraltar holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), the other two companies hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
 

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