Every so often, I can sympathize with the way the financial press drives company managers nuts. Of course, it's not all the media's fault -- the shareholders are ultimately the ones voting with their buy and sell decisions. Either way, I think this morning's sell-off of Alcoa (NYSE:AA) might be a bit short-sighted.

America's largest aluminum producer had that oft-mentioned "record quarter." Revenues were up 19%, and earnings from continuing operations climbed nearly 52%. While that sounds pretty tasty, the top-line number was shy of the estimate -- by a whopping 0.6%, from what I can see.

What also seemed to spook people -- at least, judging by the some of the articles that came out between the release last night and the start of trading today -- was guidance. The company said that prices should fall in the next quarter, and that it expected to make less money. I may be no expert, but isn't that normal? My recollection is that Europe basically goes to sleep in the summer, and U.S. carmakers scale back as well -- in other words, it's a normal cyclical soft spot.

As I've mentioned before, aluminum producers like Alcoa and Alcan (NYSE:AL) just haven't gotten the same love lavished on other metal mavens like Phelps Dodge (NYSE:PD) and Inco (NYSE:N), and more diversified companies like Rio Tinto (NYSE:RTP) and BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP). Some of this can (and should) be explained away by the relative performance of the underlying metals, as well as some cost issues for aluminum companies.

Still, it may not necessarily be the end of the story for Alcoa. The company continues to look for new applications, markets, and customers, including deals with Nike and DuPont (NYSE:DD). In addition, it's in a pretty good position with its refining and smelting capacity. While my fancies are directed more toward coal and steel, risk-tolerant investors might still squeeze a little more juice out of this idea if the economy stays strong and markets like commercial aerospace continue to recover.

For more metal-minded Foolishness:

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).