Total return: 70%
Fortune 500 rank: 161Like other companies in the steel sector, Nucor was able to charge higher prices in 2006 and offset flat shipments. The steel manufacturer and retailer, which is known for its excellent management, also bought back stock and upped its dividend. JP Morgan analyst Michael Gambardella notes that the company has never lost money, and writes in a research report that "its trading multiples do not reflect the company's earnings power."
Going forward, he says industry consolidation will help the company because "Nucor is no longer competing against a group of highly fragmented and financially distressed competitors that were prone to make stupid production and pricing actions."
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