Alcoa Profits Surprise Investors

Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) reported a profit for the first quarter on Tuesday after having posted a loss in the fourth quarter of 2011, sending the company’s stock up 6 percent to $9.80.

The Pittsburgh-based company attributed the rise in income to improved market conditions and said first quarter profit was $94 million, compared to $309 million in the first quarter of last year.

Revenue rose slightly to $9 billion, flying in the face of analyst expectations of $5.77 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“Performance rebounded strongly the quarter due to our proactive cash sustainability actions…focus on profitable growth, and stabilizing markets,” CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said. However, “challenges remain in this economy.”

Alcoa’s stock price has fallen 46 percent since April 2011, mostly because of a drop in global aluminum prices, but the company said last week it would reduce the production of alumina by 4 percent.

The company closed trading Tuesday with a 2.92 percent drop to $9.32 per share.