Alcoa's 1Q Profit Tops Views, But Revenue Soft

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) on Monday weighed in with stronger profit and sales from a year ago, but the shares fell slightly in after-hours trading as revenue for the latest period missed estimates.

The aluminum producer’s results, which mark the unofficial start to earnings season -- the company is the first Dow component to report -- demonstrated a considerable increase in profit as net income jumped to $308 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with last year’s first-quarter net loss of $201 million, or 20 cents a share. Excluding the impact of a one-cent special item, the company posted operating profit of 28 cents a share.

Sales came in shy of expectations, at $5.96 billion, compared with year-ago sales of $4.89 billion, as prices for aluminum rose but raw material and energy costs increased globally offset some of the gains.

The results were mixed versus Street expectations; analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted first-quarter earnings of 27 cents a share on revenue of $6.08 billion.

Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld boasted in a statement after the market closed Monday that the quarter had been “excellent” as profitability had increased across all business segments, and the company set a profit record in its midstream and downstream businesses.

For the fiscal year, the company backed the global aluminum demand forecast for 12% growth."Our outlook for the rest of 2011 and beyond remains very positive due to the world's growing population, increasing urbanization, and aluminum's advantages as a light, strong and recyclable material," Kleinfeld said in a release.

Shares of Alcoa fell 15 cents, nearly 1% in Monday’s session to close the day at $17.77.  Following the announcement, the stock was down more than 1% in late trading.