Alcoa reported a loss that was marginally worse than expected, but the company's sales came in slightly above expectations.
The aluminum fabricator cited a drop in demand for the loss—especially in the auto industry—and sharply lower prices.
Excluding one-time items, Alcoa reported a loss of 59 cents a share in the first quarter, against a profit of 44 cents a share in the same period last year.
Revenue for the most recent period fell to $4.1 billion from a topline of $7.375 billion this time a year ago.
Analysts who follow Alcoa, a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, expected the company to lose 56 cents a share on sales of $4.077 billion, according to a consensus estimate compiled by Thomson Reuters.
Despite the earnings miss, Alcoa shares (NYSE: aa) rose about 2 percent in late trading. The stock finished the regular New York Stock Exchange session 1.5 percent lower at $7.79.
The price of aluminum tumbled some 50 percent in the second half of 2008 from a peak of $3,380 per ton 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.