But the performance of metals, as compared with the overall market, shows they're still relevant. (The Dow rotates stocks into its index so that the index will always trend upward: Only GE (GE) remains from the original list of 12 offered by Charles Dow in 1896.)
So what does the Alcoa result mean for Alcoa and for the general market? Here is my view.
For one thing, it means that the U.S.'s cost advantage in energy, especially natural gas, remains a powerful driver for economic growth.
It means energy efficiency, as a design goal, remains an important trend. Lighter materials, like aluminum, have a continuing advantage over heavier materials like steel. Since efficiency can help pay for new goods, and energy prices remain high, that's also bullish.In short there's a tailwind behind U.S. business that exists outside questions about government policy. Many American businesses that were becoming noncompetitive and irrelevant, like Alcoa, are now profitable and relevant again. To use an October analogy, it's a solid single to left. We'll see Friday whether JPMorgan Chase can follow up and get traders cheering. At the time of publication, the author held shares of GE and BAC. This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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