(Reuters) - Alcoa Inc (AA.N) reported a fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday as cost cuts helped offset a drop in aluminum prices.
For the fourth quarter, the company reported net income of $242 million, or 21 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $191 million, or 18 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Sales fell 1.5 percent to $5.89 billion.
The Pittsburgh-based company expected global aluminum demand to rise 7 percent in 2013.
Following are initial reactions of analysts and investors:
CHARLES BRADFORD, ANALYST, BRADFORD RESEARCH IN NEW YORK, NY:
“I can’t think of anything that could have been better; it was precisely what we expected. Their forecast looks reasonable. The main reason for the better fourth quarter than third was the metal price.”
“Right now the aluminum price has come down a bit so it’s currently lower than where it peaked in the fourth quarter. My guess is Alcoa will probably do a little bit better in the first quarter than in the fourth, even with a little bit lower metal price. The currency could be more helpful, seasonality could be more helpful.”
TIM GHRISKEY, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, SOLARIS ASSET MANAGEMENT IN BEDFORD HILLS, NY:
“The revenues were really the key. The earnings were in line but the revenues were strong.”
“I think it was a good solid quarter. Not a barnburner but a good quarter. It’s certainly important in this type of environment to look at revenues. Corporate margins are near all-time highs and the gains in earnings are going to come from revenue growth and the fact that Alcoa was able to beat revenue expectations perhaps indicates that we could see more of the same from other companies as they report. But when all is said and done Alcoa’s numbers are simply Alcoa’s numbers and reflect what’s happening in the aluminum market. But these were good results.”
STEPHEN MASSOCCA, FUND MANAGER, WEDBUSH MORGAN, SAN FRANCISCO:
“It’s hard to draw a lot of conclusions from one name, but I think people were expecting that earnings were going to be light. It’s only one name, but it’s going to be perceived as good. I don’t know if it’s a super big surprise. Bring on the banks, bring on the big technology companies -- that’s going to be the real tale of the tape. Those will be the two that people are watching with bated breath. The energy companies, with commodity pricing, it’s pretty easy to forecast what happened there. But with banks and technology, results are a little more opaque - that will determine where things will go.”
“Look, the stock is trading the same place it was a year ago. It’s difficult to make money with aluminum prices at these levels, but consumption is holding up well. Aluminum prices averaged $2,000 a ton in the fourth quarter and they need higher prices for consistent profitability.”
Reporting By Anna L. Driver in Houston, Braden REddall in San Francisco and Nichola Groom in Los Angeles; Editing by Patricia Kranz