Alcoa's ( AA) third-quarter earnings surged past estimates, but sales, while up 13% from a year ago, fell short of Wall Street's consensus target because of lower alumina and aluminum prices.

The Pittsburgh-based company, the first member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average to report earnings, posted income from continuing operations of $290 million, or 33 cents a share, in the latest quarter. Sales totaled $6.57 billion, the company said Monday.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting a profit of 29 cents a share and sales of $6.61 billion.

A year ago, Alcoa had earnings from continuing operations of $292 million or 33 cents a share, and in the second quarter the company earned $466 million, or 53 cents a share.

The results for the quarter were hurt by lower aluminum prices and higher input costs, particularly for energy. Seasonal weakness in Europe and the automotive markets also cut into profitability. Alcoa said most of the impact from the recent Gulf Coast hurricanes will be evident in its fourth-quarter results.

Net income in the quarter was $289 million, down from $460 million in the second quarter, and up vs. $283 million in the third quarter of 2004.

Shares of Alcoa rose 46 cents, or 2%, to $23.12 in after-hours trading. During the regular session, the stock closed at a 52-week low of $22.66.

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