Aluminum producer Alcoa said on Wednesday that fourth-quarter net profit rose 76 percent on restructuring and tax benefits, offsetting lower aluminum prices.
The first earnings report from a Dow Jones Industrial Average member this quarter was above Wall Street expectations. The strong results, coupled with a bullish forecast from chemical maker DuPont earlier in the day, bodes well for the raw materials group heading into 2008, analysts said.
"It's kind of an early indication of the earnings trend, but more importantly, it might be a sign if the DuPont numbers hold true ... those are the sectors that have been actually the strongest," said Bruce Zaro, chief technical adviser at Delta Global Advisors.
Alcoa said net income increased to $632 million, or 75 cents per share, from $359 million, or 41 cents per share, in the year-ago period. The company recorded a benefit of 38 cents per share in the most recent quarter related to its agreement to sell its packaging and consumer business.