When the market staggers through a day like yesterday where it ultimately plunged by nearly 140 points, it's enlivening to be able to point to a stock -- from a big company, at that -- that completely ignored the trend, increasing its share price an even $2.50, or above 5%. And when the company appears to retain more upside potential than downside risk, all the better.
I'm referring specifically to Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
For the sake of perspective, Canada's Teck Resources
Since mid-February, Comex copper prices had fallen from just above $4.50 a pound to below $4.20, which seems significant until you remind yourself that a year ago the per-pound price was about $3.50. The slippage this year has been blamed on several factors, including softer-than-expected demand from China and the potential effect of higher energy costs on global economic expansion. However, Wednesday's prices dawned decidedly upward, largely on the basis of anticipated demand from the rebuilding of Japan.
I'm convinced that given this apparent reversal, Fools would be especially wise to look closely at Freeport-McMoRan, the world's largest publicly traded producer of copper, the majordomo in the molybdenum production, and a sizable factor in gold output.
The company benefits from the geographic spread of its operations, which include the Morenci and Safford districts of North America and the Cerro Verde mine in Peru, along with three mines in Chile. In Africa, it operates the new -- and potentially massive -- Tenke Fungurume district in the Democratic Republic of Congo. And last but not least, it operates the Grasberg mining complex in Indonesia, which, from a recoverable reserves perspective, is the world's largest copper and gold mine.
Beyond the geographic spread of its operations, Phoenix-based and well-managed Freeport counts among its significant assets, long-lived reserve positions that will stand the company in good stead for many years to come. Included in the asset base are 104.2 billion pounds of copper, 37.2 million ounces of gold, and 2.59 billion pounds of molybdenum. Looking solely at copper -- and assuming no additional discoveries or acquisitions -- the company's proved and probable reserves will facilitate more than a quarter-century of consumption at current rates of production.
There's lots more to be said about Freeport, but I think you get the picture: This solid mining company, with a forward P/E only slightly above 8.0 times, is well worth your attention amid today's strong copper and gold markets.
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We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the above-named companies. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.