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AK Steel Holding Corporation (AKS - Analyst Report) has commended the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) final ruling on efficiency standards for electrical distribution transformers. As per the ruling, transformers in America are one of the most energy-efficient in the world, and high-tech electrical steels will continue to be a competitive material in the marketplace.

After an extensive review process, the DOE made the rule which was published in the Federal Register a few days ago. The standards set by the DOE will become effective from 2016. AK Steel believes that the ruling is favorable for the U.S and also consolidates its position to meet the requirements of its electrical power distribution customers over the long term.

The standards are, however, not expected to have any major affect on the overall competitiveness of AK Steel’s grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES) products. However, the new standards may increase the market for GOES products with some types of distribution transformers. AK Steel’s GOES products are some of the highest value-added specialty products and have specific magnetic properties essential for producing highly efficient and economical electrical transformers.

AK Steel is a world leader in the production of flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products, primarily for automotive, infrastructure and manufacturing, construction and electrical power generation and distribution markets.

AK Steel provided its outlook for the first quarter of 2013 in Mar 2013. The company projected lower net loss of 9 cents to 13 cents in the quarter compared with a loss of 30 cents in the fourth quarter of 2012 due to lower raw material costs.

AK Steel expects average selling price to rise about 5% to $1,060 per ton in the first quarter from $1,011 in the fourth quarter of 2012. Shipments are expected to be in the range of 1,275,000 to 1,300,000 tons in the quarter compared with 1,406,100 tons in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Another steel company Nucor Coproration (NUE - Analyst Report) recently released its first-quarter 2013 results. Nucor’s adjusted (excluding special items) earnings of 29 cents per share for the first quarter of 2013 surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 25 cents. The adjusted earnings exclude an inventory related charge of $18 million or 3 cents a share.

Profit (as reported) for the quarter came in at $84.8 million (or 26 cents a share), down 41.5% compared with $145.1 million or 46 cents per share reported a year ago. Revenues decreased 10.3% year over year to $4,550 million, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4,622 million.

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

Other companies in the steel industry worth considering are Gibraltar Industries Inc. (ROCK - Analyst Report) and Shiloh Industries Inc. . Both Gibraltar and Shiloh hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
 

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