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AK Steel Holding Corporation (AKS - Analyst Report) has provided its outlook for the first quarter of 2013. AK Steel forecasts net loss to be lower in the quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2012 due to lower raw material costs.

AK Steel expects net loss to be in the range of 9 cents to 13 cents per share for the first quarter of 2013, which is narrower than the loss of 30 cents recorded in the fourth quarter of 2012.

AK Steel expects average selling price to rise about 5% to $1,060 per ton in the first quarter from average selling price per ton of $1,011 in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Shipments, for the first quarter, are expected to be in the range of 1,275,000 to 1,300,000 tons compared with 1,406,100 tons in the fourth quarter of 2012. AK Steel projects shipments to the spot market to decrease sequentially as the normal cyclical improvement in spot market shipments has not yet materialized. However, shipments to the automotive markets are expected to increase in the first quarter.

AK Steel also expects to record a non-cash tax benefit of approximately $4 million to $5 million for the first quarter of 2013.

AK Steel is making good progress with its coal mine plan and expects to begin mining activities in the first half of 2013. It is also making significant progress with its iron ore pellet project at Magnetation. Both these strategic investments are expected to improve the company’s cost structure and strengthen its position in the years ahead.

AK Steel currently maintains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other companies in the steel industry worth considering are Gibraltar Industries Inc. (ROCK - Analyst Report), Shiloh Industries Inc. and Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (SID - Analyst Report). While Gibraltar and Shiloh hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) Companhia Siderurgica carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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