Analyst Daniel Brebner says aluminum maker posted 23 cents earnings per share for the first quarter -- ahead of the 19 cents consensus and his 21 cents estimate. He characterizes first quarter profitability as solid given the difficult economy and operating environment. He says it's premature to suggest Alcoa's downstream or upstream businesses have reached cyclical troughs, but he expects a market debate, with respect to timing, will support shares in the near term.
Brebner thinks quarterly earnings per share could be volatile over the next several quarters as margins remain weak; he remains concerned over the prospects for downstream markets. He is keeping his neutral rating. He raised the 99 cents 2003 earnings per share (continuing operations) estimate to $1.02.