Alcoa Shares Pop on Earnings

Updgrades roll in after it wipes out estimates.
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Shares of

Alcoa

(AA) - Get Report

found buyers early Tuesday as Wall Street embraced its first-quarter earnings performance.

The shares were recently up $2.18, or 6.6%, to $35.01 in premarket trading; they rose 1% in Monday's regular session. Among analysts, CIBC raised the stock to outperform from sector perform Tuesday, while CSFB upped its price target to $40 from $37.

Late Tuesday, the aluminum producer posted net income of $608 million, or 69 cents a share, up from $260 million, or 30 cents a share, a year earlier. Earnings from continuing operations totaled $615 million, or 70 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected EPS of 51 cents.

Alcoa's revenue jumped to $7.24 billion from $6.22 billion. Analysts had expected revenue of $7.21 billion.

Both the revenue and profit figures were the highest in the company's history, Alcoa said. The company said the aerospace and commercial transportation markets were particularly "robust" this year.

"We had excellent top and bottom-line results, driven by strong demand, favorable metal prices and productivity programs implemented through the Alcoa Business System," said Chairman and CEO Alain Belda in a statement. "Our upstream alumina and primary metals businesses, as well as our downstream engineered solutions -- led by truck wheels, investment castings, forged products and fasteners -- all turned in record performances this quarter."

Belda also said that cost increases have slowed, with the cost of goods sold as a percentage of sales improving 640 basis points from the fourth quarter.