Why Century Aluminum Popped

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of aluminum producer Century Aluminum (NAS: CENX) are shining today, up as much as 11%, after reporting better-than-expected, first-quarter results.

So what: Fears that China's slowing growth may severely affect metals manufacturers are looking more exaggerated by the day. Following better-than-expected results from Alcoa (NYS: AA) earlier in the month, Century Aluminum reported a loss of $0.04 on an 11% rise in shipments. That loss was much smaller than the $0.22 loss Wall Street had expected. Sales also came in ahead of expectations at $326.2 million versus the $317.1 million expected by the Street.

Now what: Clearly things aren't as bad as the pessimists had predicted. Then again, a loss is a loss and we shouldn't be rewarding results that are simply "less bad." Century Aluminum is worth keeping on My Watchlist at just 10 times forward earnings, but I'd need to see more consistency before I'd consider calling the company an outperform even at these reduced levels.

Craving more input? Start by adding Century Aluminum to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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