Ahead of the Bell: Alcoa

NEW YORK -- Alcoa Inc. may set the stage for what's expected to be a disappointing earnings season when it reports third-quarter results Tuesday after the markets close.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect the aluminum manufacturing giant to report break-even results on a per share basis for the July-through-September quarter. Alcoa's net income equaled 15 cents a share in the third quarter of 2011.

Revenue is forecast at $5.57 billion, compared with $6.42 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Alcoa faces challenges from a slowdown in global manufacturing. Demand has been mixed and prices have been weaker.

Alcoa's performance reflects broader economic trends because aluminum is used to make a wide range of products from airplanes and automobiles to beverage cans and construction materials.