Alcoa Inc., the biggest U.S. aluminum producer, kicked off the second-quarter earnings season today on a sour note by reporting a net loss of $2 million, or zero cents per share, reflecting the sting of slumping aluminum prices.
The loss compared to a profit of $322 million, or 28 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2011.
Excluding special items, which included restructuring charges, the New York-based company earned $61 million, or 6 cents per share, slightly above analysts' consensus estimate of 5 cents. Analysts had lowered their projections considerably in the last month as aluminum prices continued to fall.
Sales were $5.96 billion, a bit higher than Wall Street estimates of $5.81 billion, but down 9 percent from $6.59 billion in the April-June quarter last year.
The company reiterated its expectation that overall aluminum demand will grow 7 percent this year, turning a worldwide supply surplus into a deficit and likely leading to higher prices.
The results were announced after the market closed. Alcoa shares finished the day at $8.76, up 4 cents. Shares moved higher in early after-hours trading.
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