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Alcoa Shares Slide as Revenue Disappoints

(Alcoa earnings item updated from April 11.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Alcoa (AA - Get Report) reported first-quarter earnings Monday that squeaked past Wall Street expectations by a penny, but a miss on the company's top line weighed on the company's stock in Tuesday's regular session.

After the bell Monday, Alcoa said its revenue in the first quarter came to $6 billion, up from $4.9 billion a year earlier but lower than the $6.3 billion that Wall Street analysts were targeting.

Investors chose to punish the Pittsburgh aluminum giant, sending its shares down 6.5% in midday trading Tuesday. Volume reached nearly 50 million shares, compared with average daily turnover of about 28 million.
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Alcoa's share-price decline was amplified by macro-economic factors, analysts and traders said, with stocks falling sharply across the metals and mining complex. Renewed fears in Japan after the government raised the radiation-threat ranking to the same level as Chernobyl, weak U.S. import data and a bearish call on commodities (especially oil and copper) from Goldman Sachs (GS) all served to motivate selling during Tuesday's session, according to market observers.

More pertinently for Alcoa and other commodities-linked stocks: With the Federal Reserves's quantitative easing program coming to an end in June, investors fear a rise in interest rates. If that happens, "the commodity trade gets whacked," said Lee Munson, chief investment officer at Portfolio LLC, a hedge fund. Miners such as Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) and Freeport McMoRan (FCX), for instance, saw their shares fall more than 4% apiece intraday Tuesday.

Still, Wall Street analysts were bullish on Alcoa's fundamentals, and not nearly as nonplussed with the revenue shortfall, by and large, as investors appeared to be.

"My sense is that only about half of Alcoa's selloff is actually due to the market's reaction to its earnings," said Bridget Freas, metals equities analyst with Morningstar. "Alcoa has some positive momentum going into the second quarter because aluminum prices have continued to rise."

Lloyd O'Carroll, the metals and mining analyst at Davenport & Co. in Richmond, Va., called the reaction to the revenue miss "overdone."
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