Freeport McMoRan Beats Earnings Forecasts, Lifts Copper Sales Outlook

Freeport McMoRan  (FCX) - Get Report posted modestly better-than-expected second quarter earnings Thursday and nudged its full-year forecasts for copper sales higher amid bullish forecasts for the global post-pandemic recovery.

Freeport McMoRan said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in June were pegged at 77 per share, up from 3 cents per share over the same period last year and just ahead the Street consensus forecast of 76 cents per share. Group revenues, Freeport McMoRan said, rose 88.5% to $5.75 billion, narrowly missing analysts' forecasts of a $5.76 billion tally.

Looking into the final half of the year, Freeport McMoRan said it sees copper sales of around 3.85 million pounds, a modest increase from its prior estimate, and gold sales of 1.3 million ounces. 

"Our global team continues to execute our operating plans safely, efficiently and responsibly, providing strong cash flows and a solid foundation for future profitability and growth," said CEO Richard Adkerson. "During the first half of 2021, we reduced our net debt by $2.7 billion and achieved our targeted net debt level, positioning us for increasing cash returns to shareholders and investments in future growth in accordance with our financial policy."

"As a leading responsible producer of copper, we are optimistic about the prospects for our business and our role in supporting a growing global economy and the transition to clean energy," he added. "We remain focused on building value for all stakeholders through solid management of our long-lived and high-quality portfolio of copper assets."  

Freeport McMoRan shares were marked 1.6% lower in early trading immediately following the earnings release to change hands at $34.00 each, a move that would trim the stock's year-to-date gain to around 31%.

Copper futures on the London Metals Exchange hit $9,381 in overnight trading, extending their year-to-date gain to around 20%, as investors bet on a faster recovery powered by construction and low-carbon project developments. 

Copper futures on the Shanghai market passed the $10,600 mark, as well, down from the spring highs of around $12,000 as the government continues to sell excess copper reserves in order to reign-in record high prices.