Here's Why Century Aluminum Co. (CENX) Stock Is Down 13%

By Markets Fool.com

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.

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What:U.S. aluminum producerCentury Aluminum Co. stock is getting hammered today, down 13% as of 1:25 p.m. ET. The company's stock is down almost 21% so far this year, after gaining nearly 135% in 2014:

CENX Chart

CENX data by YCharts.

So what:Century Aluminum released fourth-quarter financial results after the market close on the 24th, coming up short of analyst expectations for earnings per share. The company delivered $0.63 per share, while analysts were looking for $0.66. However, sales were strong at $551 million, well ahead of the $510 million Wall Street was expecting.

Now what:Century Aluminum has some relatively positive tailwinds, as demand for aluminum is on the rise, and the company is now solidly profitable after several years of losses and negative cash flows:

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CENX Net Income (TTM) Chart

CENX Net Income (TTM) data by YCharts.

If the upswing in aluminum demand continues -- which looks likely -- this could be a good opportunity to open a position, or add a few shares. However, Century operates in a very cyclical industry and has relatively high fixed costs.

This isn't an investment to "set and forget," but rather watch for signs that the industry is starting to slow. If you're not comfortable being a little more active with keeping an eye on the aluminum market and Century's performance, then this might not be a good place to invest.

The article Here's Why Century Aluminum Co. (CENX) Stock Is Down 13% originally appeared on Fool.com.

Jason Hall has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.