United States Steel Corp. (X), the nation's largest integrated steelmaker, on Friday reported a first-quarter net loss on weak prices, but forecast a profitable 2002 based on a better outlook for prices and shipments. 

The Pittsburgh-based company reported a loss including extraordinary items of $83 million, or 93 cents per share, compared with net income of $9 million, or 10 cents per share, a year ago. 

However, the company's chief executive said "average realized prices" are expected to increase, combining with strong orders to help swing the company into profitability for the balance of the year. 

"We are encouraged by improving economic conditions in both the U.S. and Europe," said CEO Thomas Usher, noting that reduced U.S. production capacity and tariffs imposed by President Bush, will also bolster the company's performance. 

The company also announced the sale of 8 million common shares to the public. 

Quarterly revenues fell to $1.43 billion from $1.56 billion, U.S. Steel said. 

On an adjusted basis, the company posted a narrower net loss of $96 million, or $1.07, versus a net loss of $98 million, or $1.09 a share, a year ago. U.S. Steel said losses from operations before special items totaled $81 million, down from losses of $97 million a year earlier. 

Shares of U.S. Steel closed at $17.76 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange . The stock was roughly flat during the quarter, underperforming the more than 11 percent gain in the Standard & Poor's steel index, of which it is a component.