Alcoa Posts Mixed 3Q Results, Shares Fall

In the unofficial kick-off to earnings season, Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA), weighed in with mixed third-quarter results Tuesday, adding more uncertainty to the murky economic landscape.

Alcoa chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld cited falling aluminum prices and weakening demand in Europe for the sequential decreases in both profit and revenue, but touted growth in end markets, with the exception of Europe.

The aluminum producer posted weaker-than-expected earnings, reporting profit of $172 million, or 15 cents a share, up from earnings of $61 million, or 6 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. That’s down from the last quarter, which saw net income of $322 million or 28 cents a share.

Revenue rose 21% to $6.4 billion, compared with last year’s third-quarter earnings of $5.3 billion, but down from the previous quarter’s revenue of $6.6 billion.

The revenue results beat expectations, but the earnings-per-share missed badly; the Street had expected earnings of 22 cents a share on revenue of $6.22 billion.

The company backed its forecast for a 12% growth rate in 2011, with a slower pace in the second half of the year, and reaffirmed its long-term view that aluminum demand will double by 2020. Kleinfeld also reiterated the company’s strong position in light of uncertainty about the global economy.

“Alcoa is a confident company in a nervous world,” Kleinfeld said, in a statement. “We are well prepared for whatever lies ahead, with more cash on hand, lower debt and continued focus on profitable growth."

Shares of Alcoa, which rallied 2% to close at $10.30 a share on Tuesday, fell nearly 6% in after-hours trading after the release of the results.