Freeport-McMoRan’s (FCX) Q4 earnings of 11 cents per share and revenue of $3.68 billion fell short of analysts’ views and the stock was down about 5% in the pre-market trading on Thursday. Analysts had expected the company to post earnings of 18 cents per share on revenue of $3.8 billion. EPS dwindled 78%, while revenue dropped 27% compared to the prior year fourth quarter.
The weaker-than-expected results of the fourth quarter were primarily driven by the year-over-year drop in copper production and sales as well as gold production and sales. Molybdenum sales were flat in the quarter.
Q4 copper and gold sales of 785 million pounds and 266 thousand ounces were lower than the prior-year quarter sales of 1 billion pounds and 593 thousand ounces, primarily reflecting anticipated lower ore grades and mill rates in Indonesia.
North America’s consolidated copper sales volumes of dropped to 333 million pounds in the recently ended quarter compared to 354 million pounds in the prior-year quarter. North America copper sales are estimated to approximate 1.4 billion pounds for 2019, similar to 2018.
South America’s consolidated copper sales volumes increased to 325 million pounds from 312 million pounds a year ago. Sales from South America mining are expected to approximate 1.3 billion pounds of copper for 2019, compared with 1.25 billion pounds of copper in 2018.
Sales volumes for 2019 are expected to approximate 3.3 billion pounds of copper, 0.8 million ounces of gold and 94 million pounds of molybdenum, including 0.8 billion pounds of copper, 255 thousand ounces of gold and 24 million pounds of molybdenum in Q1 2019.
“As we enter 2019, our priorities are focused on achieving important milestones to ramp-up production from our large-scale underground assets in the Grasberg minerals district, continuing our focus on productivity and cost management, advancing the Lone Star project and defining future growth options from our large portfolio of reserves and resources,” said CEO Richard Adkerson.
Shares of Freeport ended Thursday’s regular trading session at $12.31, down 0.57%. The stock plunged to a yearly low ($9.60) on December 26, 2018, and had dropped 37% in the past 12 months period.
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