Alcoa is above forecasts as US reporting starts

US ECONOMIC bellwether Alcoa beat Wall Street’s expectations last night, although the country’s biggest aluminium producer cut forecasts for global demand due to China’s slowdown.

Alcoa’s earnings report, which is seen as a litmus test for the US economy and kicks off the third-quarter results season, saw turnover for the three-month period to October of $5.8bn (£3.6bn), beating forecasts of $5.5bn and sending shares up around 0.6 per cent in after-hours trading.

However, Alcoa posted a $143m loss, compared with a $172m profit in the same period last year, and downgraded projections of growth in global aluminium demand next year from seven per cent to six per cent – the slowest since 2009.

“Markets seem to be driven more by headlines than fundamentals right now, but Alcoa remains focused on the things within our control,” said Klaus Kleinfeld, the firm’s chairman and chief executive.

The owner of KFC and Pizza Hut, Yum Brands, also reported positive results last night, saying sales in China had held up despite economic headwinds and posting a nine per cent rise in total revenue for the quarter.