(Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct some erroneous figures.)
On Tuesday, the aluminum maker reported fourth-quarter fiscal 2016 earnings of 14 cents, 10 cents below the consensus forecast. Revenue rose 3.5% to $2.54 billion vs. the $2.37 billion estimate.
Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $335 million, slightly lower than the consensus estimate of $340 million. The results exclude $209 million of restructuring costs and other one-time charges.
In September, Alcoa split into two publically traded companies effective Nov. 1. The slower-growing aluminum smelting and refining operations would remain Alcoa and the faster-growing aerospace and automotive engineering business were spun off as Arconic (ARNC) - Get Report . (Arconic is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sellsARNC? Learn more now.)
Higher alumina and metal prices drove the better-than-expected revenue. Strong demand from China helped the company realize a cast aluminum price of $1,906 per metric ton, up 5.7%. Alumina realized prices rose some 4% year-over-year to $272 per metric ton.
Based on the strong price of alumina and cast aluminum, management said it expects 2017 EBITDA of $2.1 billion to $2.3 billion. Capital expenditure guidance rose $50 million to $450 million.
For 2017, the company is projecting global aluminum demand growth of 4%, including a 6% increase from China. The aluminum surplus is projected to be between 400,000 and 800,000 metric tons. At the same time, global supplies of bauxite and alumina are tightening, though Alcoa predicted those markets should remain balanced in 2017.
With the stock up so dramatically, I would wait until it cools before committing any capital. The company will likely earn $1.30 per share on $10.5 billion in revenue.
Because of the large swings in commodity prices (and earnings), analysts typically use enterprise value to EBITDA to value the stock. Right now, the shares are trading at 9.1 times EV/EBITDA, which is high. The stock normally trades between 6 times and 6.5 times.
At $36, the stock is priced for perfection. To avoid a meltdown, I would wait for a correction.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.