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Alcoa Profit Falls Short, but Sales Top Estimates

CNBC.com
Monday, 7 Apr 2008 | 5:10 PM ET

Alcoa reported earnings that came up short of analysts' consensus estimates because of higher costs and a weaker dollar, but the company's sales beat forecasts.

AP

Excluding one-time items, the aluminum manufacturer and Dow Jones Industrial Average component reported first-quarter income from continuing operations of $361 million, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $7.38 billion.

On comparable basis, that markes a 20 percent rise in income from last year.

Alcoa was seen garnering a profit of 48 cents a share on sales of $7.182 billion, according to estimates compiled by Thomson Financial.

Wall Street analysts recently lowered earnings estimates for Alcoa, but said they expected the company to benefit from higher aluminum prices later in the year.

Shares of Alcoa were down as much as 2.2 percent in extended electronic trading before regaining most of that lost ground. The shares closed down 4 percent at $37.44 Monday.

Alcoa's Earnings Results
Insight on Alcoa's earnings, with CNBC's Matt Nesto and Scott Burns, Morningstar Equity.

"It looks like a pretty solid quarter. Everybody knows the dollar has been weakened, and that's one of the most difficult things, especially for the commodity makers, to estimate how that's going to impact the numbers at the end of the quarter," said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist at Delta Global Advisors. (For more analysis, see the CNBC video at left.)

Net earnings were $303 million, or 37 cents per share, compared with $662 million, or 75 cents per share, in the same quarter last year, the company said.

"Upstream margins were squeezed by higher energy costs and a weaker U.S. dollar, but the global market remains tight and prices are near historic highs, primarily driven by demand in Asia, especially China," Alcoa Chairman and Chief Executive Alain Belda said in a statement.

In the last three months the price of aluminum has climbed 24.5 percent as a broad-based global commodity rally lifted most industrial metals.

Shares of Alcoa have risen more than 22 percent since Jan. 9, when it last reported earnings, compared with an overall decline of the Dow Industrials index of 1.9 percent.

- Wire services contributed to this report.

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