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Alcoa ( AA) beat Wall Street's top- and bottom-line expectations for the second quarter late Wednesday, providing a hopeful sign in the unofficial kickoff to earnings season.

The Pittsburgh-based aluminum producer said it lost $454 million or 47 cents a share in the second quarter, vs. $546 million, or 66 cents a share a year earlier. The quarter marks Alcoa's third straight quarterly loss.

Excluding one-time restructuring charges, Alcoa lost 26 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected a loss of 38 cents a share.

Despite a 42% year-over-year slide in revenue to $4.2 billion, Alcoa beat the $3.93 billion consensus estimate by analysts.

The company attributed sluggish sales to the economic downturn, which has affected demand from core end markets in the automotive, commercial transportation, building and construction, and aerospace industries. The average price of aluminum on the London Metal Exchange in the second quarter was $1,485 per metric ton, a 49% decrease year-over-year, the company said.

Alcoa President and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said the company's "cash generation initiatives, productivity improvements, and portfolio changes" are helping it weather the storm.

"Now Alcoa has the staying power and reduced cost base to withstand the most serious downturn in the history of the aluminum industry," Kleinfeld said in a statement. "Our operational and financial initiatives also provide Alcoa with the focus and flexibility to compete and grow in the most profitable segments of the industry as the economy recovers."

Alcoa shares were up 6.6% to $10.08 in recent premarket trading. They closed up five cents to $9.46 in Wednesday's regular session.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.

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