U.S. Steel's Fourth-Quarter Net Profit Surges

U.S. Steel said on Monday that fourth-quarter profit surged as a result of higher prices for its products.

Net earnings were $297 million, or $2.50 per share, compared with $109 million, or 85 cents per share, a year earlier, the Pittsburgh-based company said.

"Our fourth quarter was significantly better than the fourth quarter last year, but weaker than the earlier 2006 quarters as inventory rebalancing and high import levels reduced domestic demand for steel," U.S. Steel said in its earnings statement.

In October, the steelmaker had warned of a production slowdown as prices ease in the face of a struggling U.S. auto industry. Because of customers' high inventories, it said it was idling three or four of its blast furnaces for the rest of the year.