Alcoa's Strong Earnings Trump Expectations

Earnings: Alcoa

Alcoa Beats Expectations With Strong Earnings

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Alcoa Inc. (AA), the world's biggest aluminum producer, said Monday that first-quarter net income more than doubled on high metal prices and strong demand for products such as auto and aerospace components.

Net earnings were $608 million, or 69 cents per share, compared with $260 million, or 30 cents per share, a year ago, the Pittsburgh-based company said. Earnings from continuing operations were $615 million, or 70 cents per share.

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Analysts on average were expecting 52 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

"They look terrific," Charles Bradford of Bradford Research/Soleil, said of the results. "The metal price is the key, and there wasn't any surprises in other areas. It shows you what the company can do in a reasonable environment."

Alcoa said cost pressure from raw materials and energy, which hurt earnings in the last year, had eased somewhat, but it said it was building up inventories in case of work stoppages at U.S. plants in the event of a breakdown of labor negotiations when contracts expire next month.

With aluminum selling at 17-year highs, revenue rose 16 percent to $7.24 billion in the quarter from $6.22 billion a year earlier, when results were battered by hurricanes in the Gulf and high energy and raw material costs.

Shares of Alcoa closed up 1 percent at $32.83 ahead of the results, on the New York Stock Exchange. Alcoa stock rose 2.2 percent in the first quarter, well below the 7.9 percent rise of the Dow Jones U.S. Mining Index.

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