Alcoa's 2Q earnings better than expected, is the recovery on?

Ring the bell, sound the trumpets, bang a gong, whatever you do to signal that earnings' season has begun, because Alcoa (AA) has reported second-quarter earnings and the game is on.

The metals firm reported a quarterly loss of 26 cents per share (excluding restructuring charges), far better than the consensus estimate. Sales came in stronger than expected as well, with the company selling $4.24 billion of product. During the previous two quarters, AA lost nearly $1.7 billion, so one cannot fault the Street for its expected loss of 39 cents per share with sales of $3.93 billion.