Friday frenzy for Freeport
Shares in Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) rocketed 10.7% on Friday, boosted by a firm oil and copper price, better than expected financial results and good operational news from its South American mines.
Volumes were simply massive with more than 74 million shares changing hands on the day, making it the third most actively traded stock on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Phoenix-based company, world number two copper producer behind Chile's state-owned Codelco in terms of output, is now worth $17.5 billion after more than doubling in value since the start of the year. Measured from its January low the stock is up 274%.
It's been a good week for Freeport. The company announced on Friday that agreement had been reached with striking workers at its 51%-owned El Abra mine in Chile which produced roughly 147,000 tonnes copper last year.
On Thursday news from its Peruvian Cerro Verde mine also buoyed investors who were already piling into the stock following the financial results. Freeport said after a $4.6 billion expansion project at Cerro Verde production at the mine nearly tripled in the first quarter.
If production continues at the first quarter pace the mine will produce close to 600,000 tonnes of metal this year, catapulting it to the number two position of the world's largest copper mines behind Chile's Escondida, majority-owned by BHP Billiton.
On Tuesday, Freeport reported a smaller than expected loss and higher copper production in the first quarter and predicted full year sales in 2016 of about 5 billion pounds of copper, 1.85 million ounces of gold, 71 million pounds of molybdenum and 54.4 barrels of oil equivalent.
Freeport intends to sell a 13% stake in the Morenci mine in Arizona (at 463,000 tonnes last year the fifth largest mine in the world) and an interest in its Timok exploration project in Serbia for consideration of $1.3 billion.