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Fourth quarter 2006 volume, as anticipated, reflected the typical year-end slowdown, exacerbated by high inventories in a variety of products throughout the supply chain," said CEO Neil S. Novich. "Additionally, this excess industry-wide inventory, coupled with an extraordinary run up in stainless steel prices, due to nickel surcharges (up an average of about $700 per ton from the third quarter to the fourth), exerted margin pressure in the quarter."