Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) Posts Strong First Quarter Results

As the first bell-whether company to report, Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) said Q1 came in at a loss of $(0.16)/share.  Excluding $276 million in special charges (from smelter and rolling mill capacity reductions), operating earnings for the metals and mining company were $0.09 (versus the street at $0.05).

The delta versus analyst estimates came from strong performance in the alumina segment; primary metals also came in better than expected due to pricing power. That said, it is worth noting that upside in the engineered products and solutions division was at least partially due to cost cuts (and more in line with the street).

For 2014, the company continues to project aluminum demand to grow by 7%  (4% excluding China) and has upped its aerospace growth forecasts by 1% to 8-9% annual sales growth. Looking forward to Q2, engineered products and solutions is expected to realize after-tax operating income growth of 4-6%.

Moreover, global rolled product results are expected to grow sequentially owing to higher demand from autos and industrials while upstream volumes will likely be lower due to curtailments in Brazil and Australia.

On the balance sheet, in spite of negative free cash flow of ($760 million) during the quarter, management maintained that FCF would be in positive territory by year-end.

As a recap, Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) reported Q1 earnings, excluding items, of $0.09 per share, better than the analyst consensus of $0.05 per share on Capital IQ. Sales were $5.45 billion, shy of the Street view of $5.55 billion.

Analysts have a consensus price target of $11.65 on Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) which indicates a 7% downside. The consensus rating of the stock is a HOLD with a score of 2.13. There are currently 8 Hold Ratings, 5 Buy ratings and 3 Sell rating on the stock. The most recent analyst action consisted of Deutsche Bank upgrading their rating from Sell to Hold, increasing their price target to $10.