WEST CHESTER, Ohio (AP) — AK Steel Holding Corp. said Tuesday that its first-quarter loss narrowed, as a drop in operating costs offset lower sales.

The West Chester, Ohio, company lost $9.9 million, or 7 cents per share, compared with a loss of $11.8 million, or 11 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

The loss was smaller than Wall Street expected. Analysts, on average, expected a loss of 11 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Sales fell 9 percent to $1.37 billion, short of analysts' predictions of $1.38 billion. Operating costs dipped 11 percent to $1.34 billion.

AK Steel produces flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products for a range of industries, including automotive, construction and infrastructure, manufacturing and electricity.

AK Steel's shipments fell 3 percent to 1.3 million tons on lower demand from the carbon spot market, partially offset by higher automotive demand.

The company's selling price decreased 7 percent to $1,062 per ton, hurt by lower spot market prices for carbon steel products, reduced raw material surcharges and lower selling prices for electrical steel products.

AK Steel shares fell 1 cent to $2.91 in afternoon trading.