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Alcoa’s shiny earnings have a dark underside Add to ...

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If Alcoa Inc. is the bellwether for U.S. corporate earnings that it’s cracked up to be, the third-quarter reporting season may deliver the market an Indian summer – a deceptive warm spell serving as a fleeting prelude to a cold winter.

The aluminum giant, whose traditional role as the first major U.S. company to issue its earnings report each quarter has made its numbers a focal point for market watchers, came out late Tuesday with considerably better-than-expected profits: 11 cents (U.S.) a share before one-time items, roughly double the consensus estimate.

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