The stock market hasn't had many long-lived sell-offs recently, and today, the long-held buy-the-dip mentality once again asserted itself as stocks bounced back from their losses from earlier in the week. The Dow failed to climb back above 17,000, but investors took solace from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting minutes in concluding that the central bank won't be in a hurry to take away the punch bowl of accommodative monetary policy. Among the best performers on the day were Alcoa ( AA ), Primero Mining ( PPP ), and Alexander & Baldwin ( ALEX -1.58% ).
Alcoa gained almost 6% as the aluminum giant started off the second-quarter earnings season on a positive note. Alcoa said that its net debt levels reached their lowest levels in nearly seven years, reaffirming its forecast of 7% growth in global aluminum demand and continuing its efforts to transform itself into more of a high-margin specialty products company. Innovation has helped Alcoa's bottom line immensely, and the company saw its best results ever from its Engineered Products and Solutions business. With Alcoa having reversed a year-ago loss and seeing improving conditions in all of its business segments, the company's results bode well not just for the aluminum industry but for the materials sector more broadly.
Primero Mining jumped 6% as the gold miner gave an update on drilling results from its Black Fox project. Last October, Primero initially found two high-grade gold-containing strata at Black Fox, and today's results showed six more favorable samples, suggesting that the primary body of gold ore at Black Fox is fairly extensive. With the finds located more than 240 meters below where Primero is currently engaging in mining operations, the company will have to invest more in order to reach the deposit for production. But with new areas also found at Black Fox and encouraging results from its nearby Grey Fox property as well, Primero has investors excited about the future of the project.
Alexander & Baldwin rose 7%. The Hawaiian land developer and agricultural specialist got favorable coverage from an analyst firm this morning, recommending a buy for the stock and setting a price target almost 50% above where shares closed Tuesday. The analyst believes that even with the disparate assets in Alexander & Baldwin's overall portfolio, the value of each of its businesses adds up to a total that's far in excess of where shares trade now. If Hawaii's prospects improve, then Alexander & Baldwin is in a great position to take full advantage in the future.