Stocks to Watch: Alcoa, Travelzoo

NEW YORK -- Alcoa ( AA), the aluminum giant, posted a surprise quarterly profit.

Alcoa, the first component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average to report its results each quarter, posted first-quarter earnings from continuing operations of $94 million, or 10 cents a share, on revenue of $6.01 billion. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for a loss of 4 cents a share on revenue of $5.77 billion.

The company attributed the better-than-expected results to "strong productivity improvements across all businesses, higher realized prices for aluminum, and improved volume and mix."

Alcoa also reaffirmed its outlook for 7% growth in global aluminum demand in 2012.

Travelzoo ( TZOO), a publisher of travel newsletters and Web sites, is planning to sell itself, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Internet company is in the process of hiring a financial adviser, the sources said. Travelzoo has a market value of $336.1 million.

Travelzoo's move comes after it received takeover interest from private-equity firms and trade buyers, the sources said, Reuters reported.

The list of potential buyers could include Amazon ( AMZN) and Google ( GOOG), said Dan Kurnos, a research analyst at The Benchmark Company.

The sources told Reuters online travel Web site ODIGEO, which is owned by AXA Private Equity and Permira, could also be a likely buyer.

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American International Group ( AIG) is planning to jump back into U.S. property investing, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The move is a reversal of a years-long effort to downsize its real-estate business in the wake of the government bailout the insurance giant received in 2008.

AIG is beginning to make plans for fresh investments across the U.S. that will begin later this year, the Journal said. A real-estate division of AIG has reached out to developers of new apartment buildings in major metropolitan areas, people familiar with the matter told the newspaper.

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Earnings are expected Wednesday from Adtran ( ADTN), and Hooker Furniture ( HOFT), and Progressive ( PGR).

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-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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