Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Nucor (NYSE:NUE) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note released on Tuesday. They currently have $73.00 price target on the basic materials company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Nucor’s profits surged year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2017. Adjusted earnings and sales also beat the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate in the quarter. Nucor remains committed to expand its production capabilities and grow its business through strategic acquisitions. It is also seeing continued momentum in the automotive market.”

NUE has been the topic of several other reports. ValuEngine raised shares of Nucor from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. Credit Suisse Group lifted their price target on shares of Nucor from $63.00 to $67.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a report on Friday, October 20th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $76.00 price target on shares of Nucor in a report on Wednesday, January 31st. Cowen lifted their price target on shares of Nucor from $57.00 to $63.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a report on Monday, October 23rd. Finally, Citigroup set a $66.00 target price on shares of Nucor and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Friday, October 20th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating, ten have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $69.70.

Shares of Nucor (NUE) opened at $64.08 on Tuesday. The stock has a market cap of $20,168.64, a P/E ratio of 17.87, a P/E/G ratio of 1.07 and a beta of 1.56. The company has a current ratio of 2.42, a quick ratio of 1.19 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.36. Nucor has a 1-year low of $51.67 and a 1-year high of $70.48.

Nucor (NYSE:NUE) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, January 30th. The basic materials company reported $0.65 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.55 by $0.10. The company had revenue of $5.09 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.86 billion. Nucor had a net margin of 6.58% and a return on equity of 13.03%. The firm’s revenue was up 28.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.50 EPS. research analysts anticipate that Nucor will post 4.92 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, February 9th. Investors of record on Friday, December 29th were given a dividend of $0.38 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 28th. This is an increase from Nucor’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.38. This represents a $1.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.37%. Nucor’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 36.72%.

In related news, EVP Robert J. Stratman sold 39,037 shares of Nucor stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.88, for a total transaction of $2,493,683.56. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 233,824 shares in the company, valued at approximately $14,936,677.12. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. 0.70% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of NUE. CI Investments Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Nucor in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $55,250,000. Alps Advisors Inc. lifted its position in shares of Nucor by 9,051.7% in the 4th quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 805,075 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $51,187,000 after purchasing an additional 796,278 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in shares of Nucor by 3.2% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 22,382,353 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,423,070,000 after purchasing an additional 702,355 shares during the period. Point72 Asset Management L.P. lifted its position in shares of Nucor by 384.8% in the 3rd quarter. Point72 Asset Management L.P. now owns 509,772 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $28,568,000 after purchasing an additional 404,622 shares during the period. Finally, Stifel Financial Corp lifted its position in shares of Nucor by 120.6% in the 3rd quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 594,283 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $33,356,000 after purchasing an additional 324,926 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.10% of the company’s stock.

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About Nucor

Nucor Corporation (Nucor) manufactures steel and steel products. The Company produces direct reduced iron (DRI) for use in its steel mills. It operates in three segments: steel mills, steel products and raw materials. The steel mills segment produces and distributes sheet steel (hot-rolled, cold-rolled and galvanized), plate steel, structural steel (wide-flange beams, beam blanks, H-piling and sheet piling) and bar steel (blooms, billets, concrete reinforcing bar, merchant bar, wire rod and special bar quality).

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