The anticipation of a first-quarter Alcoa loss, combined with record high aluminum inventories reported by the London Metal Exchange, also sent other aluminum company shares down.
In morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Alcoa was down 4 percent at $7.59. On the Nasdaq, Kaiser Aluminum
Wall Street was expecting Alcoa, the largest U.S. aluminum producer, to report a second consecutive quarterly loss after the bell on Tuesday. Analysts on average were expecting a loss of 54 cents per share on revenue of $4.11 billion, according to Reuters Estimates. In the year-ago period, Alcoa posted a profit of 44 cents per share on revenue of $7.38 billion.
The Reuters estimate had gone from an estimate of a 34-cent loss a month ago. The change was largely due to significant reduction in estimates from Morgan Stanley, RBC and UBS.
The First Call consensus also changed sharply from a loss of 44 cents one month ago to 52 cents last week.
The Reuters Estimate number of 54 cents excludes a $120 million restructuring charge.
Analyst Charles Bradford noted that analysts typically waited for the end of the quarter last week before changing their estimates. They were based purely on the price of aluminum, rather than any company-specific developments.
The aluminum price tumbled some 50 percent in the second half of 2008 from a peak of $3,380 per tonne last July. During the first quarter, the price fell another 9 percent from $1,530 to $1,392. It stood at $1,460 on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Steve James; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)