MOSCOW, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Severstal, Russia's largest steelmaker, posted a surprise third-quarter net profit thanks to a strong performance at its domestic mills and said it was increasingly optimistic about the future.
"Greater stability in our primary markets has made us more optimistic on the prospects for the remainder of 2009 and 2010," Chief Executive Alexei Mordashov said in a statement on Thursday.
"While a Q4 seasonal correction cannot be ruled out, we believe further measured recovery in 2010 is now more likely."
Severstal made a third-quarter net profit of $66 million, versus the $131 million net loss forecast in a Reuters poll and after a $1.31 billion profit a year ago.
A construction-led upturn in Russia, where recession hit late last year, was offset by continued losses in the United States, where they narrowed sharply from the previous quarter, and in Italy.