UPDATE 1-Nucor sees first quarter profit below estimates

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March 15 (Reuters) - No.1 U.S. steel producer Nucor Corp on Friday forecast first-quarter profit below Wall Street estimates, citing lower average selling prices of steel sheets and delay in shipments to customers in the construction sector.

The tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on steel imports, mainly from China, have increased domestic production, leading to a drop in steel prices.

Nucor, which makes and distributes steel sheet, beam blank and steel bar for a wide range of industries, blamed an unusual wet winter season for the shipment delays from its steel mills and steel products units.

The company said it expects profit in the range of $1.45 per share to $1.50 per share for the quarter ending March 30.

Analysts on average had expected the company to earn $1.63 per share for the quarter, according to Refinitiv data.

“We believe that sheet pricing reached the low point during the first quarter and are encouraged by the impact of recent price increases,” Nucor said in a statement.

Sheet mills account for nearly 44 percent of the U.S. steel maker’s total shipments.

In January, Nucor said it expects a fall in sheet prices as well as margins, which is expected to partially offset profitability in its bar and structural mill units.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel