NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Alcoa ( AA) delivered on diminished Street earnings expectations for the second quarter, but the jury is still out on the turnaround for the aluminum giant, which has been the biggest Dow dog of 2010. Alcoa shares are up on the day after its earnings by a little more than 1%, consistent with the broad equity market rally after not just Alcoa, but railroad operator CSX ( CSX) kicked off earnings season on an optimistic note. Nevertheless, the move up in Alcoa shares on Tuesday isn't the kind of lift that represents investor conviction in immediate and significant upside for the aluminum stock. Alcoa's 13 cents earnings per share bested the worst-case scenario of the Street, which had included analysts lowering earnings forecasts for the quarter to as low as 9 cents in the month leading up to the second quarter earnings. Depending on your earnings consensus source, Alcoa's 13 cents earnings per share was in line, or beat the Street by a penny. That penny beat isn't really the final word on Alcoa. In fact, the headline micromanagement of earnings meets and beats can obscure the longer-term outlook. How bad will the second half of 2010 be for Alcoa with aluminum prices already dropping steeply? How long will it be before Alcoa is not just on the mend, but propelled by macroeconomic forces to deliver on upside potential in its shares? What follows are burning questions about the outlook for Alcoa shares going beyond the headlines.