How to Trade Alcoa, Rival Mining Stocks

Aluminum producer Alcoa said fourth-quarter profit rose 76 percent on restructuring and tax benefits, offsetting lower aluminum prices.

So why does Chuck Bradford of Soleil Securities rate the mining firm's stock "Hold"?

The analyst told CNBC he is wary of Alcoa's financial "sleight of hand."

Bradford said Alcoa's operating income was actually disappointing, suffering from soaring energy costs. He notes that the company's results were buoyed by the rising euro and Australian and Canadian dollars.

And while China and worldwide demand for Alcoa products rose, he sees global demand as a whole ebbing in 2008.

He also dismisses acquisition interest in 2007, saying that, at the time, suitors like BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto "really wanted [rival] Alcan" but couldn't afford it -- settling for a run at Alcoa instead.

But Bradford does praise Alcoa for selling off several lower-margin businesses, including packaging.