Alcoa Inc. the third largest aluminum maker in the world, announced Monday its first net loss in six years during its fourth quarter, lower than analysts expected as the economic downturn impacted demand and prices of the metal.

Analysts expected Alcoa to lose 10 cents per share during the fourth quarter, according to a Thomson Reuters survey. A Bloomberg survey of analysts estimated a loss of 5 cents per share. Alcoa reported a loss of $1.49 per share on Monday. It is the first company in the Dow Jones Industrial Average index to report earnings.

Alcoa lost $1.19 billion on the fourth quarter of 2008 amid a global economic crisis that hit strongly aluminum markets including, construction, auto and aircraft industries. Compared to last year's performance, the company earned $632 million or 75 cents per share in the same period of 2007.

The Pittsburgh-based firm reported its quarterly sales fell 19 percent to $5.69 billion down from $7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007. Alcoa lost 9 cents per share on revenue of $26.9 billion in the full year. Analysts estimated it would earn $1.40 per share on revenue of $27.6 billion for the full 2008.

Last week the company announced moves to face the economic slowdown saying it will cut 13 percent of its workforce, production, spending and sell some of its subsidiaries expecting to save $450 million a year.

Shares of Alcoa fell down 6.94 percent or 0.75 cents to close at $10.06 on the New York stock Exchange Monday.