The late-Tuesday results from Alcoa, a Dow component company, helped lift stocks after five days of losses that had brought down the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index more than 4 percent.
Analyst Tony Rizzuto, of Dahlman Rose & Co, raised his full-year 2012 earnings estimate for Alcoa to 50 cents per share from 40 cents per share following Tuesday's results.
Alcoa reported income from continuing operations of $94 million, or 9 cents per share, while analysts had expected a loss of 4 cents per share.
"We are encouraged by these results, but are remaining somewhat cautious with our estimates until we see a sustained follow-through in performance," Rizzuto wrote in a research note.
"If productivity and operational gains can be maintained, we believe the market will begin to look more favorably at the shares," he said of Alcoa stock, which has dropped over 50 percent since reaching a year-high of $18.19 in April last year.
In morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Alcoa shares were 7 percent higher at $9.96.
(Reporting By Steve James)