Alcoa and the Analysts

Yesterday, after the close, Alcoa "stunned" the Street with an earnings report that was much better than expected.  Indeed, whereas the Street consensus of earnings estimates was for a loss in the quarter the company actually reported a profit.  This report will likely be well received by the stock market and futures right now point to a strong open.  My question involves how analysts can be so wrong?  I've been around the block a few times in making earnings estimates.  Indeed, I use to project earnings using only a slide ruler.  Today, with all the technology available to the wizards of Wall Street, they miss so badly?  Makes me wonder if there was some intentional low balling of estimates for Alcoa, and if this practice is extending to other companies? 

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