Maybe a Little Less Alcoa Gloom

Well, all that gloom the market had around Alcoa sure turned out to be unwarranted.

Despite negative expectations from the "consensus," the metal maker turned a profit. Not as big as last year's first-quarter number, but a profit nonetheless.

Whenever a company surprises, the question becomes, "was it something company specific, or something macro?" If it is macro, it gets traders to search for plays on a theme. Pete Najarian talked about that on "Fast Money" last night, drawing particular attention to China growth. And today's market action seems to confirm at least a portion of Alcoa's results are heartening to the investment world at large.

Indeed, one analyst on our air pointed out that with aluminum prices declining, Alcoa's stable revenues are a sign that demand for the metal is actually on the rise.

And to the point that companies may have already cut as much as they can, Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld told CNBC's "Closing Bell" that the company's "relentless cash focus" helped the numbers as well. If you watch the interview, he noted that meant production cutbacks in some areas, but expansion in other areas.

Unfortunately for the American worker, the expansion seems to be overseas.


Allen Wastler is managing editor of Follow him on Twitter @AWastler. You can catch his commentary on CNBC Radio. And check out his fiction.