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Alcoa Q2 profit jumps on metal prices

ALCOA

Alcoa Inc posted a big jump in second-quarter profit on Monday, matching Wall Street estimates, partly due to soaring prices for aluminum and its raw material alumina.

But some analysts said a recent softening of aluminum prices might affect the company's third-quarter results and Alcoa's stock was down in after-hours trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

"The real issue is going to be looking ahead because the third-quarter aluminum price could be down 5 cents US a pound," said Charles Bradford, of Bradford Research in New York.

"I think (analysts) are going to have to take the third-quarter estimates down."

Indeed, many analysts had already lowered their estimates for the second quarter as the price of aluminum has slipped in recent weeks. However, Alcoa's earnings matched the consensus of 32 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 27 percent to $6.6 billion US, beating Wall Street estimates of $6.3 billion.

But the company said strong demand for aluminum and higher prices were offset by higher energy and materials costs and a weaker U.S. dollar, which makes it more expensive to import raw materials.

"The big story here is the beat on the revenue line -- $6.6 billion -- that was certainly ahead of our expectations," said Bridget Freas, an analyst at Morningstar, in Chicago.

"Even though they've had a little more cost than expected during the quarter, volumes have improved significantly," Freas said.

Net earnings were $322 million, or 28 cents per share, compared with $136 million, or 13 cents per share in the same quarter of 2010, the Pittsburgh-based company said. Income from continuing operations, excluding one-time items, was 32 cents a share.

Aluminum sold in a range of $2,500 to $2,600 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange during the second quarter, up from $1.977 in the same quarter a year earlier. On Monday it was selling at around $2,478.

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