The stock market has been on a roller coaster ride lately, reacting to each bit of news with dramatic ups and downs.

But when investing for retirement or other long-range goals, investors must tune out the noise to guarantee profits.

Alcoa(AA) - Get Report has been virtually synonymous with aluminum production in America for almost a century. But rather than just remain a legacy business, its management has put together an ambitious plan to emphasize those segments of its business that have the most profit potential.

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The New York-based company recently announced plans to change its name to Arconic and focus on engineering parts for aerospace and automotive businesses.

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A new company will retain the name of Alcoa and will house the company's traditional mining, refining and smelting divisions. Arconic, meanwhile, will make everything from lightning-resistant fasteners for airplanes to truck wheels.

Alcoa's products are used worldwide in aircraft, automobiles, building and construction, commercial transportation, defense, industrial applications, oil and gas, and packaging. It has manufacturing and sales operations in 31 countries.

Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld recently said that the reorganization is still on track to be completed before the end of next year and Arconic will be a top supplier to the aerospace and automotive industries as it expands beyond just aluminum into nickel and steel alloys as well.

Two years ago, Alcoa acquiredFirth Rixson, a global leader in aerospace jet engine components, from Oak Hill Capital Partners for $2.85 billion in cash and stock. This positioned the company to capture additional aerospace growth with a broader range of high-growth, value-add jet engine components, a strategy that has been vindicated by recent earnings' performance.

For a time it seemed that legal issues might derail the reorganization effort, and the uncertainty put a damper on the stock price.

But now Alcoa and its longtime joint-venture partner Alumina have settled their differences. The Australia-based Alumina has been in business with Alcoa since the 1960s, with Alcoa owning 60% of Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals and Alumina holding the rest.

The company's second-quarter earnings report showed a sharp upward trend, which Kleinfeld attributed to continued cost cutting and productivity increases.

Another factor has been China's curtailment of its own aluminum production.

China produced about 2.66 million metric tons of aluminum in July, a decline of 2.4%, according to data released by the International Aluminum Institute

Chinese aluminum production has fallen year over year in six out of the past seven months. This has reversed the slide in the commodity's price and is welcome news for Alcoa as well as such competitors as Century Aluminum and Rio Tinto.

The key when investing is to have a steady stream of returns to rely on, no matter what happens in the market as a whole, and Alcoa is focused on delivering that.


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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.