Domestic steel industry sales picked up slightly in the second quarter of 1991, cutting losses.But the 24 companies reporting to the American Iron and Steel Institute have posted net operating losses of $825 million for the first half of this year, compared with operating income of $653 million in the first half of 1990. Sales in the second quarter of 1991 were $6.5 billion, up from $6.2 billion in the first quarter, but down from $7.6 billion in the second quarter of 1990. Operating losses at the 24 companies, which represent 68 percent of the nation's raw steel output, were $161 million in the second quarter of this year, versus $664 million in the first quarter. "Operating" income or loss figures generally do not include items such as corporate expenses, interest expense, interest income, and income taxes.

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