NEW YORK (AP) -- Alcoa shares edged down slightly before Tuesday's opening bell after the company topped Wall Street's profit expectations, but was still weighed down by a recent glut in aluminum.
Weak aluminum prices and the economic crisis in Europe somewhat offset strong demand from auto and plane makers.
Citi analyst Brian Yu, who backed his "neutral" rating on the stock, said that despite strong profits, there are still concerns about Alcoa's ability to maintain free cash flow with aluminum prices depressed. Strong demand from aerospace and automotive markets, however, will continue to drive long-term growth, he said.
Yu boosted his 2013 profit prediction by 2 cents to 50 cents per share. Analysts, on average, expect earnings of 52 cents per share.
Alcoa is traditionally the first company in the Dow Jones industrial average to report results. Because aluminum is used in so many products, the company's performance can provide an early peek into other industries for which companies will soon begin reporting quarterly results.
Carmax and Bed, Bath & Beyond report earnings Wednesday.
Alcoa shares fell 9 cents to $8.30 in premarket trading.