Morgan Stanley Lowers Alcoa to 'Equal-Weight'

Analyst Wayne Atwell says the company needs to shutter its high-cost aluminum smelting assets

Morgan Stanley downgraded Alcoa (AA ) to equal-weight from overweight.

Analyst Wayne Atwell says Alcoa is spending on lower return projects over the next several years. He notes poor results from a diversification program. He also notes Alcoa's highly leveraged balance sheet, which limits options.

Atwell says Alcoa needs to shutter high-cost aluminum smelting assets. He raised the 98 cents 2003 earnings per share estimate to $1.06, but cut the $1.99 2004 estimate to $1.58, and cut the $2.59 2005 estimate to $2.27. He also cut the $31 target to $30.