Aluminum and Alcoa Get Crushed

Falling global prices of aluminum through last year have led analysts to severely cut estimates of Alcoa Inc.’s (NYSE:AA) profit for the fourth quarter, due to be announced on January 9.

According to an average of 18 analysts’ opinions by Bloomberg, the company’s net income will fall 96% to 1 cent compared to 21 cents in the same period last year.

If one were to look at declining fourth quarter average estimates, this quarter would mark the largest fall after the 2009 fourth quarter, when Alcoa reported a 22 cent loss.

Prices of aluminum during the quarter were down 11% compared to a year ago due primarily to a global slowdown amid the European debt crisis and also action by the Chinese government to cool inflation in the country. According to Kuni Chen, analyst, CRT Capital Markets, “You have 40-50% of global capacity under water at these levels.”

Alcoa’s spokesman, Mike Belwood, refused to comment on the earnings estimate in view of the imminent announcement by the company.

Here’s how Alcoa and other basica materials companies are reacting to the news:

Alcoa, Inc. (NYSE:AA): AA shares recently traded at $9.40, down $0.05, or 0.53%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $8.45 to $18.47. Volume today was 13,143,175 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 34,092,200 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 9.86, while trailing earnings are $0.95 per share.

Aluminum Corporation Of China Limited (NYSE:ACH): ACH shares recently traded at $11.06, down $0.02, or 0.18%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $10.34 to $25.88. Volume today was 119,705 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 444,008 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 27.65, while trailing earnings are $0.40 per share.

AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS): AKS shares recently traded at $8.70, down $0.14, or 1.58%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $5.51 to $17.88. Volume today was 2,663,026 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 8,847,960 shares. The company’s trailing earnings are $-0.54 per share.

Alumina Ltd. (NYSE:AWC): AWC shares recently traded at $4.64, down $0.21, or 4.33%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $4.47 to $11.46. Volume today was 103,886 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 256,863 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 48.33, while trailing earnings are $0.10 per share.

Arcelor Mittal (NYSE:MT): MT shares recently traded at $19.22, down $0.22, or 1.13%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $14.77 to $38.50. Volume today was 2,557,641 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 7,625,490 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 12.76, while trailing earnings are $1.51 per share.

Noranda Aluminum Holding Corp. (NYSE:NOR): NOR shares recently traded at $8.64, down $0.41, or 4.53%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $6.67 to $17.82. Volume today was 102,414 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 250,429 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 3.78, while trailing earnings are $2.29 per share.

Nucor Corporation (NYSE:NUE): NUE shares recently traded at $40.62, down $0.26, or 0.64%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $29.82 to $49.24. Volume today was 968,938 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 3,597,990 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 20.56, while trailing earnings are $1.98 per share.

POSCO (NYSE:PKX): PKX shares recently traded at $84.41, down $0.5, or 0.59%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $70.47 to $118.00. Volume today was 143,763 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 288,319 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 9.08, while trailing earnings are $9.29 per share.

United States Steel Corp. (NYSE:X): X shares recently traded at $27.76, down $0.68, or 2.39%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $18.85 to $64.03. Volume today was 4,146,383 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 12,795,900 shares. The company’s trailing earnings are $-0.53 per share.

Century Aluminum Co. (NASDAQ:CENX): CENX shares recently traded at $9.02, down $0.13, or 1.42%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $7.25 to $20.76. Volume today was 543,570 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 1,836,290 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 8.47, while trailing earnings are $1.07 per share.

Kaiser Aluminum Corporation (NASDAQ:KALU): KALU shares recently traded at $47.13, down $0.47, or 0.99%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $32.91 to $53.65. Volume today was 30,495 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 159,481 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 45.58, while trailing earnings are $1.03 per share.