Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX) fell as much as 5.5% today after reporting third quarter earnings results.
So what: Revenue fell 7.6% to $5.7 billion due primarily to a large drop in gold prices and offset by increased production for copper and gold. Analysts were expecting $5.65 billion in revenue so the top line didn't show any real shocks in the quarter.
Where the disappointment came today was on the bottom line where earnings fell 33% to $552 million, or $0.53 per share. After pulling out one-time charges of $0.11 per share the results topped expectations by three cents but it still wasn't enough to impress investors today, especially when you consider more recent news.
A government official said that a strike at Indonesia's Grasberg copper mine has brought production down to 60% to 70% of capacity. Workers are demanding that around 50 manager be fired after a fatal accident in late September. The mine is one of the largest in the world and with output down for at least the last two weeks the outage could have a major impact on fourth quarter results.
Now what: It's not uncommon for mine workers to strike but this strike could have a long lasting impact. The union has reportedly told Freeport-McMoRan management that it intends a 30-day strike that will start November 6 and there are reportedly 11,000 workers who could strike. That's nearly half of the Indonesian workforce for the company.
The side effect is that copper prices are at a two-week high today so what production is taking place will be sold at higher prices.
Given the malaise in the global economy and the potential disruption from the strike I think Freeport-McMoRan's shares could be under pressure well into the future, even after hitting a new 52-week low today. The company just isn't in a growth phase and investors are leery that things will get worse before they get better.
I just haven't seen enough to be excited about the stock today despite its low 12 P/E ratio and 4.1% dividend yield. Those are numbers that make me think this is a value trap rather than a value stock in today's market.
Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.