NEW BULLISH Plays

Nucor Corp. - NUE - close: 49.56 change: +0.96

Stop Loss: 47.85
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: Unopened
Entry on April -- at $---.--
Listed on April 28, 2015
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 2.5 million
New Positions: Yes, see below

Company Description

Why We Like It:
NUE's management is expecting steel prices to stabilize by the end of the year and that has provide hope for investors. The industry is still struggling with a "flood" of imports.

NUE is in the basic materials sector. According to the company, "Nucor and its affiliates are manufacturers of steel products, with operating facilities primarily in the U.S. and Canada. Products produced include: carbon and alloy steel -- in bars, beams, sheet and plate; steel piling; steel joists and joist girders; steel deck; fabricated concrete reinforcing steel; cold finished steel; steel fasteners; metal building systems; steel grating and expanded metal; and wire and wire mesh. Nucor, through The David J. Joseph Company, also brokers ferrous and nonferrous metals, pig iron and HBI/DRI; supplies ferro-alloys; and processes ferrous and nonferrous scrap. Nucor is North America's largest recycler."

Their 2015 Q1 results were hurt by a -5% drop in average selling price of steel. Wall Street was expecting earnings of $0.14 a share on revenues of $4.66 billion. NUE delivered $0.21, which was a -39% drop from a year ago, but significantly above its mid-March guidance in the $0.10-0.15 range. Revenues were down -14% to $4.4 billion.

NUE management commented on its quarter, "This lower performance is primarily due to lower selling prices and margins resulting from the exceptionally high level of steel imports flooding the domestic market. It is estimated that imports accounted for 33% of the finished steel market in the first quarter of 2015. Import levels in February and March were lower than the peak in January, but remain at the exceptionally high levels experienced during most of 2014. We anticipate selling prices to remain under pressure as the flood of imports continues in the second quarter of 2015. Global overcapacity built by foreign, state-owned enterprises continues to be a significant risk factor to our business."

The stock actually rallied on its earnings report thanks to somewhat optimistic guidance. The company said the automotive market remains strong. They continue to see improving demand in the nonresidential construction markets. NUE did note that the energy market is still troubled. The drop in crude oil and the decline in active rigs has cut demand for tubular goods products (drilling equipment), which has caused a glut of inventory in the sector.

NUE shared the following outlook, "Earnings in the second quarter of 2015 are expected to be somewhat improved from the first quarter of 2015. Although margins in the steel mills segment are expected to improve, they will remain under pressure during the second quarter of 2015 as selling prices have not yet fully stabilized and imports remain at exceptionally high levels. This pricing pressure is expected to mitigate the benefits of lower average raw materials costs in the second quarter. We expect much better performance in the downstream products segment in the second quarter of 2015. The performance of the raw materials segment is expected to decrease in the second quarter of 2015 due to a planned one month outage at our DRI facility in Trinidad. We anticipate an operating loss similar to the first quarter of 2015 at Nucor Steel Louisiana, which, due to the extended length of the time the facility was not operating, will work through higher cost iron ore inventory that was purchased in 2014. Performance in the second half of 2015 is expected to further improve on the strength of continuing improvement in nonresidential construction and its impact on our downstream products businesses and steel mills. Additionally, steel pricing is expected to stabilize and rebound as service center destocking runs its course."

It would appear that the market has priced in the industry's trouble with imports. Now investors are looking ahead toward improvement later this year. The stock has been consolidating sideways in the $46-49 range for several weeks. Shares rallied on its earnings report and now it's on the verge of breaking out from its trading range. The $50.00 level is round-number resistance plus it's strengthened by technical resistance with the simple 200-dma. A breakout past this area would be very bullish. Tonight we're suggesting a trigger to launch bullish positions at $50.50.

Trigger @ $50.50

- Suggested Positions -

Buy NUE stock @ $50.50

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Buy the JUL $50 CALL (NUE150717C50) current ask $1.73
option price is a current quote and not a suggested entry price.

Entry disclaimer: To avoid an unfavorable entry point, we will not launch a new play if the stock gaps open more than $1.00 past our suggested entry point.

Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

Daily Chart: