Alcoa (NYSE:AA), the world’s biggest aluminum producer by revenue, kicks off earnings season today with an after-hours report that seems doomed to disappoint. The recent aluminum glut has seriously devalued their products, and the company says there’s little it can do about that. Once considered a bellwether for the U.S. stock market, Alcoa is becoming increasingly irrelevant as raw aluminum prices decline quarter after quarter. The S&P 500 used to follow Alcoa’s lead, but is now taking its cues from more accurate bellwethers, more diversified commodities companies.
Alcoa is expected to report profits of 8 cents a share this afternoon, according to a survey of 18 analysts compiled by Bloomberg, two cents less than first-quarter results in 2010 and 2012.
Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) new mobile phone software, Home, which will operate exclusively on Android handsets, is set to be released to the public on April 12, but may have made an unintentionally early debut, as smartphone news site MoDaCo has leaked a pre-release version of the software. Home will take over home pages on Android phones, so that the first thing a user sees upon powering up is a Cover Feed, the mobile software equivalent to News Feed, which will present new photos and status updates. Initially, Facebook Home is only supposed to be compatible with five specific handsets, but according to MoDaCo, the leaked software can be made to operate on a wider range of devices. Conversely, some of Home’s most-anticipated features, which were presented in a public demonstration last week, do not appear to work in the pre-release software, including the Chat Heads feature, which will allow users to continue conversations while doing other activities on their smartphones.
General Electric (NYSE:GE) has agreed to buy Lufkin Industries for $3 billion. It will acquire the oilfield equipment maker as part of its efforts to grow its oil and gas operations. Lufkin shareholders will be paid $88.50 per share in the all-cash deal, a 38 percent premium over Lufkin’s closing price of $63.93 on Friday. With 33.1 million shares outstanding, that values Lufkin at roughly $3 billion. The companies have valued the deal at $3.3 billion.