Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Freeport (NYSE:FCX) Earnings Increase 10 Percent in Second Quarter

Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX) enjoyed a 10 percent increase in earnings in the second quarter, as higher copper and gold prices helped them to a strong showing, even though production numbers were down.

The miner earned $1.49 a share after excluding one-time items, far above the $1.34 a share analysts had been looking for.

Copper prices surged 38 percent higher on average during the quarter, leading the earnings gains. Copper entails about 75 percent of all sales by Freeport.

Gold also helped the company, as prices were at $1,234 an ounce on average during the second quarter. That was up by 32 percent over last year, which averaged $932 an ounce during the same quarter.

Revenue grew to $3.86 billion a gain of 5 percent, from $3.68 billion last year. Analysts had been looking for $3.66 billion. Again, this was led by higher prices and not increased production.

To get an idea of how the stronger prices helped the company, production last year for copper during the same time period was 1.1 billion pounds, while the most recent quarter was 914 million pounds.

Gold production was at 298,000 for the most recent quarter.

Guidance for the year remained the same, with production of copper estimated at 3.8 billion pounds, and gold production expected to reach 1.8 million ounces. Molybdenum, which could perform strong if the demand for steel increases, which is expected, has an estimated 63 million pounds to be produced for the year.

Freeport was up to $66.74 in New York as of 1:26PM EDT, gaining $2.42, or 3.76 percent.

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