Freeport McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) +0.7% in Wednesday’s trading after reporting better than expected Q4 adjusted earnings and revenues that nevertheless fell from a year ago in an environment of lower copper prices and higher costs.
Freeport (FCX) said Q4 GAAP net income fell to $697M, or $0.48/share, from $1.11B, or $0.74/share, a year earlier, while revenues slid 6% to $5.76B from $6.16B in the prior-year quarter.
The miner said its average Q4 copper price fell to $3.77/lb from $4.42/lb in the year-earlier quarter; copper futures currently trade at ~$4.20/lb, near their highest level since May 2022.
Q4 consolidated sales totaled 1.07B lbs of copper and 458K oz of gold, up 3.6% and up 16% Y/Y respectively.
For FY 2023, Freeport (FCX) guided for copper sales of 4.2M lbs, flat compared to 2022, and gold sales of 1.7M oz, below 1.8M oz sold in 2022; copper unit costs are expected to rise to $1.60/lb from $1.53/lb in Q4 and $1.50/lb for all of 2022.
The company said market sentiment improved late last year due to rising demand from China, demand from decarbonization projects, supply constraints, U.S. dollar exchange rates and low inventories.
Freeport (FCX) “continues to deliver operationally with arguably the best record in our coverage over the past five years,” Citi analyst Alexander Hacking wrote.
Freeport McMoRan (FCX) shares have gained 18% so far this year and 13% during the past year.