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Alcoa Earnings: Worse Than Expected, But Not a Lot Worse Than Expected

Aluminum giant Alcoa kicked off this quarter's earnings season with the release of its first-quarter numbers moments ago, saying it lost $480 million in continuing operations during the first three months of this year.

“Alcoa responded swiftly to the declines in our end markets and the historic drop in aluminum prices with a holistic program that dramatically re-positions our balance sheet and operational cost structure,” Klaus Kleinfeld, president and chief executive of Alcoa, said in a release. “The result has been a rapid increase in liquidity during the quarter and significant operational cost savings.

The Pittsburgh-based company lost 59 cents per share; a loss of 56 cents per share was expected, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

The company reported $4.15 billion in revenue; $4.08 billion in revenue was expected.

This counts as good news. Much in the way that it's good news if you get stabbed by only one knife instead of two.

As The Ticker wrote yesterday, many analysts are considering this a "throw-away" quarter, meaning they expect earnings to be terrible. No surprise there.

The key to first-quarter earnings coming out this week is guidance. Wall Street wants to know what the next quarter and rest of the year are going to be like.

“In our primary products segments, for example, since the third quarter of 2008 we have reduced the cost of producing alumina and aluminum by 33 and 30 percent, respectively," Kleinfeld said. "Pacing well ahead of our 25 percent reduction target, we expect our efforts to have a significant impact on primary’s profitability and cash flow in 2009.”

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  April 7, 2009; 4:37 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Alcoa, earnings  
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