Stocks were mostly sagging after the closing bell Wednesday, in reversal from the major indices' upside finish, but aluminum maker Alcoa ( AA) bucked the trend after it issued blazing fourth-quarter results .
Mostly due to a huge tax benefit, the Pittsburgh-based company posted a continuing-operations profit of $632 million, or 74 cents a share, compared with last year's 30 cents a share. Excluding the benefit, income came to 36 cents a share -- 3 cents ahead of the average analyst estimate from Thomson Financial. Revenue slipped 5.8% year over year to $7.39 billion, but that's still substantially higher than the $6.92 billion consensus. Shares were adding $1.18, or 3.8%, to $32.43 in recent late trading. Fellow Pittsburgh concern American Eagle Outfitters ( AEO), a teen-apparel retail chain, was also gaining ground despite joining some other retailers in lowering its fourth-quarter forecast because of poor store-traffic trends. American Eagle now pegs its earnings outlook at 64 cents to 65 cents a share, down at least 2 cents from the prior range. Analysts are seeking 68 cents a share. December same-store sales fell 2% vs. a year earlier, though that's in line with Wall Street expectations. Shares were adding 4.8% to $18.57 after the close. But Men's Wearhouse ( MW), a men's suit retailer, wasn't so lucky after it chopped far more from its own fourth-quarter profit projections. Shares were plunging 14.5% after the Houston-based company said it now expects to make just 16 cents to 18 cents a share on a GAAP basis -- down sharply from the prior range of 43 cents to 48 cents a share.