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Alcoa Warns on Quarter

The aluminum giant is hit by falling prices and rising costs.
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warned of a weaker-than-expected third quarter Thursday, citing high energy prices.

The Pittsburgh-based aluminum company forecast income from continuing operations of 27 cents to 31 cents a share, down from the year-ago 34 cents and well short of the 43-cent Wall Street analyst consensus estimate.

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Alcoa said lower aluminum prices and higher raw materials costs hit the quarter, as did seasonal weakness in Europe and automotive markets.

"This quarter, we are squeezed between a weaker upstream pricing environment and significantly higher energy and input costs," said CEO Alain Belda. "We continue to face challenges from escalating costs in energy and raw materials."

Aluminum prices on the London Metal Exchange fell $80 per metric ton, and there was an additional $40 per metric ton decline in the premium for midwest delivery, Alcoa said. While metal prices have strengthened somewhat recently, that impact will be reflected in the fourth quarter, the company added.

Alcoa said it doesn't know the impact of the temporary closure of its Point Comfort, Texas, alumina refinery and its Lake Charles, La., anode plant as a result of Hurricane Rita. Those results will be reflected in third quarter numbers to be posted Oct. 10, Alcoa said.

On Thursday, Alcoa slipped 16 cents to $25.92.