For those computers that buy and sell stocks on a little more than just headline news, they may be interested to note just how Alcoa really feels about its business prospects. While the CEO of a company will always tout its prospects no matter what, after all just like CNBC, and bankers, they are only paid if growth continues, for a true glimpse of how the company is evaluating the future always look at its capex line: nothing else will provide as much information about a firm's view on organic growth IRR opportunities. And a firm that is retrenching, and thus conserving cash, is skeptical about the future, to say the least. Which is why one look at the Alcoa CapEx chart of the past 4 years shows nothing good: Q2 2010's CapEx number of $213 million was the second lowest number in many years, only higher than the $208 million in Capex spent during December 2009. In addition to CapEx, the chart below also shows Cash from operations. We will leave it up to the reader to decide if a business with $5 billion in quarterly revenue, and a market cap of $11 billion is justified in generating just $300 million in Cash from Operations.
Also, according to the management presentation, the company expects strength primarily in heavy truck and trailer, automotive, and beverage can packaging, with China supposed to be the lucky charm and stronger across the board. Well that last one is just a little questionable in light of the recent reduction in Chinese aluminum imports. As for using heavy trucks as a growth driver - good luck.