Alcoa reports big earnings beat for first quarter and confirms 7% projection for aluminum demand growth in 2012

04/10/2012 5:14 pm EST

Focus: STOCKS

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

After the close today in New York, Alcoa announced first quarter earnings of 13 cents a share, well above the analyst consensus forecast of a 3 cents a share loss for the period.

More importantly for a stock market worried about global growth, Alcoa confirmed its estimate of 7% growth in aluminum demand for 2012 from the company’s fourth quarter 2011 earnings announcement. (Aluminum demand rose by 10% in 2011.) Alcoa also stuck by its earlier estimates for 3-7% growth in automotive demand for aluminum, 1-5% in commercial transportation, 2-3% in building and construction, and 2-3% in  packaging. Alcoa did raise its forecast for global demand for aluminum in the aerospace market by 3 percentage points to a 13% to 14% range. The aluminum industry faces a supply deficit in 2012, the company said, echoing its end of 2011 forecast.

At 9 cents a share (of $94 million) Alcoa still reported a 66% drop in earnings from the 27 cents a share ($308 million) reported in the first quarter of 2011.

But there is no doubt that this first report of the earnings season is good news for a market that really didn’t want to hear more bad news today on global economic growth.

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