June 13 (Reuters) - Steelmaker Nucor Corp on Thursday forecast lower second-quarter earnings compared with a year earlier and said its steel mills' operating performance has deteriorated from the first quarter.
Weakness in sheet and structural steel has more than offset gains in plate steel compared with the first quarter, it said.
Nucor said the nonresidential construction segment still lacks "sustained momentum" but is gradually improving. It said its best end markets are still in manufactured products, including energy and automotive goods.
The company forecast earnings per share for the second quarter, ending June 29, of 25 to 30 cents, down from 35 cents a year earlier.
Analysts, on average, had been expecting 38 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sluggish economic growth and excess capacity in the global steel market have weighed on prices, eating into U.S. producers' margins. Hot-rolled coil prices , as estimated by the Steel Index, which collects data on the market, touched $570.25 per tonne in early June, their lowest point since December 2010.
Nucor shares were up 3 percent at $45.24 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.