Instant View: Alcoa Q1 profit tops Wall Street view

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Alcoa Inc (AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) reported a first-quarter profit that beat estimates as the price of aluminum, its primary product, rose sharply and demand for the metal grew in major end markets.

Income from continuing operations, excluding special items, was 28 cents per share, which topped the analyst expectation of 27 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Following are initial reactions of analysts and investors:

COMMENTARY:

CHARLES BRADFORD, BRADFORD RESEARCH, NEW YORK

“The quarter showed clear improvement in their business. The net effect is that Alcoa had a good quarter, the best in some time. And they will have a better second quarter. The tax rate was a little lower, and that helped them. But the big surge in earnings was in alumina, not aluminum. That’s where Alcoa is the dominant and low-cost producer.”

STEPHEN MASSOCCA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, WEDBUSH MORGAN, SAN FRANCISCO

“A penny better than expected. Some people thought it was going to be disappointing. I had read some chatter people were concerned the number was not going to be good, and it appears to be right in line, looks like guidance is fairly good, too. Alcoa’s had a big run, so I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of upside from this number.”

BRIDGET FREAS, ANALYST, MORNINGSTAR, CHICAGO

“The quarter itself was in line with what we’ve been seeing. Prices are up, volumes are up. They have productivity improvements. But a lot of this is being offset by a weaker U.S. dollar, higher energy costs, higher material costs. The net result is certainly a better quarter for them, largely due to higher aluminum prices. They still have some headwinds on the cost side.

“Overall, I think this is a good quarter, good outlook. I think they’re hitting the nail on the head.”

JOHN TUMAZOS, VERYINDEPENDENTRESEARCH.COM, NEW JERSEY

“All four businesses did well. That’s a bit unusual for everything to do well. But all four segments did better than any quarter last year, with alumina being almost twice the average quarter of last year.

“Flat rolled could easily be squeezed by rising ingot prices. So it was particularly good that it had its best quarter in a while.

“Primary (aluminum) in March was better than in December, and should improve much more. Ingot should be a good bit better in the second quarter than the first, and alumina is indexed to ingot. So the company should be happy in the outlook on their conference call.”

(Reporting by Carole Vaporean, Anna Driver, Ernest Scheyder and Caroline Valetkevitch)

Instant View: Alcoa Q1 profit tops Wall Street view