Investors watching the performance of Alcoa Inc., a leading steel manufacturer, for hints about corporate earnings to come in the second quarter and how the manufacturing industry that uses the company's steel may be faring were not too disappointed. Alcoa reported second-quarter earnings Monday after the market close that beat analyst estimates.

Alcoa (NYSE: AA) earned $364 million, or 32 cents a share, excluding one-time charges in the second quarter. In the second quarter a year ago, Alcoa earned 13 cents per share.

Revenue at Alcoa increased 27 percent over the past year to $6.59 billion, exceeding the consensus revenue forecast of analysts who predicted $6.31 in revenue for the quarter.

Alcoa is a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average comprised of 30 stocks and it is the first major company to report second quarter earnings, making its numbers anticipated on Wall Street Monday. Alcoa's stock closed at $15.91 on the day, down 2.97 percent, and it was down four cents in after hours trading after the earnings announcement.

Alcoa's earnings-per-share missed expectations of 34 cents per share, but Wall Street generally discounts that as a miss since analysts typically don't include one-time charges in forecasts.

Alcoa posted the company's strongest quarterly profit in nearly three years n the first quarter, and revenues beat expectations in the second quarter, despite the fact that profits fell a bit below expectations.

Although the economic recovery is uneven, said Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfield in a prepared statement, the overall outlook for Alcoa -- and for aluminum -- remains positive.

Automakers including GM use Alcoa's products for manufacturing, so the company's results are closely watched beyond the impact of earnings to its shareholders.