Alcoa sees brighter 2013, but remains cautious

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January 9, 2013 9:35 AM EST

Investors tend to scrutinize Alcoa's results for hints on where the overall economy is headed, as the company's aluminum products are used in the automotive, appliance and airline industries.

The company said it expects global aluminum consumption growth of 7 percent in 2013, up slightly from 6 percent in 2012. Alcoa continues to forecast a doubling of global aluminum demand between 2010 and 2020.

Alcoa forecasts global growth in the aerospace, automotive and construction markets, among other industries, in 2013.

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The earnings were a positive turn for Alcoa, whose core business of mining bauxite and producing aluminum has been hit in recent years by a persistently low metal price.

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.

Excluding one-time items, net income was $64 million, or 6 cents per share, in line with average analysts' expectations of 6 cents a share on revenue of $5.6 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales were $5.89 billion, beating analysts' expectations, but down 1.5 percent from the year-ago quarter as the average realized price per tonne of aluminum fell slightly.

Alcoa trimmed costs by 12 percent in the fourth quarter, due in part to fewer restructuring expenses.

The company's realized price for aluminum fell roughly 11 percent in 2012.

(Reporting By Ernest Scheyder and Julie Gordon; Editing by M.D. Golan)

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