Alcoa shares climb on better-than-expected sales

January 8, 2013: 4:25 PM ET
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Aluminum producer Alcoa marked the unofficial start of earnings season Tuesday by posting sales that beat analyst expectations.

Alcoa (AA) is the first Dow component to report fourth-quarter results. The company posted earnings of six cents a share, in line with expectations, while sales were $5.9 billion, ahead of the predicted $5.6 billion.

Shares rose 2% in after-hours trading.

Alcoa's results are traditionally viewed as the start of earnings season, although most companies don't report until late January and early February, and the firm isn't seen as a bellwether for the broader market.

Overall, fourth-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to rise 3.3% from the fourth quarter of 2011, according to S&P Capital IQ.

Excluding financial stocks, however, earnings are only expected to rise 0.5%, Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG, wrote in a research note Tuesday. He said these muted expectations were driven in significant part by the technology sector, where a number of firms have issued weak fourth-quarter guidance.

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Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,191.37 -195.84 -1.13%
Nasdaq 4,637.99 -43.50 -0.93%
S&P 500 2,002.16 -27.39 -1.35%
Treasuries 1.72 -0.10 -5.53%
Data as of 2:26am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 115.31 6.17 5.65%
Bank of America Corp... 15.20 -0.43 -2.75%
Yahoo! Inc 46.46 -1.53 -3.19%
Microsoft Corp 41.19 -1.47 -3.45%
Facebook Inc 76.24 0.46 0.61%
Data as of Jan 28

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