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Earnings Preview: Alcoa shares fall ahead of Q4 report

Alcoa (AA) is scheduled to report Q4 earnings after the close on Tuesday, January 8, with a conference call scheduled for 5:00 pm ET. Alcoa is a global manufacturer of aluminum products... EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for EPS of 6c on revenue of $5.61B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is 2c-11c on revenue of $5.1B-$6.06B... LAST QUARTER: Alcoa reported Q3 adjusted EPS of 3c against estimates for 0c on revenue of $5.8B against estimates for $5.54B. During its Q3 earnings call, the company lowered its 2012 global aluminum demand view to 6% from 7%, citing a slowdown in China. Despite this, CEO Klaus Kleinfeld remained "relatively optimistic" on China going forward. Alcoa reaffirmed its long-term outlook that aluminum demand will double from 2010 to 2020. Management said industry fundamentals remained solid, but macro sentiment continued to dominate. STREET RESEARCH: Street research has been generally cautious in the weeks leading up to Alcoa's Q4 earnings report. On October 10, Stifel Nicolaus maintained its Buy rating on the stock. It expected general economic weakness to negatively impact the company's Q4 results, but the firm said the weakness should be alleviated by rising aluminum prices. On December 18, Moody’s reviewed Alcoa’s ratings for a possible downgrade, citing declines in aluminum prices. PRICE ACTION: Alcoa shares fell briefly following the company's Q3 report, touching a 52-week low of $7.96. However, since mid-November, the stock has gained approximately 15% and currently sits near the same level it did three months ago. In early afternoon trading ahead of tomorrow's Q4 report, Alcoa shares are down over 1%.