U.S. Steel reports Q4 loss of US$249M, compared with loss of US$267M in year-ago period, full-year loss of US$482M versus US$1.4B loss a year ago; CEO expects steel business to improve in Q1 2011

PITTSBURGH , January 25, 2011 () – U.S. Steel narrowed its fourth-quarter loss by selling company assets and cutting spending on facility repair and maintenance.

The Pittsburgh manufacturing giant said Tuesday it lost $249 million, or $1.74 per share, in the October-December period. That compares with a loss of $267 million, or $1.86 per share a year earlier.

U.S. Steel said, however, that market conditions were "soft" during most of the last three months of 2010. The price it received for its steel products dropped from the third quarter, when it lost $51 million.

Revenue increased 28 percent to $4.3 billion in the fourth quarter from a year ago.

The results missed Wall Street expectations of a loss of $1.11 per share on revenue of $4.2 billion.

The steel business should improve in the first three months of 2011 with increased shipments and production volumes outpacing a continued rise in raw material costs, Chairman and CEO John Surma said.

Steel "prices began to increase later in the fourth quarter and we remain cautiously optimistic that global economic conditions will continue to improve in the first quarter," he said.

During the fourth quarter, U.S. Steel said the loss narrowed in its flat-rolled segment to $156 million, but its European business had a wider loss of $39 million. The company's tubular business reported a profit of $96 million.

For the full year, United States Steel Corp. lost $482 million, or $3.36 per share, compared with a loss of $1.4 billion, or $10.42 per share, in 2009.

Shares fell $1.34, or 2.5 percent, to $53.10 in premarket trading.

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