What: Shares of Teck Resources (TECK -1.96%) jumped more than 15% by 11:15 a.m. ET on Friday. While most commodity prices and the broader market were all higher today, it would appear that today's surge is due to the company's fourth-quarter results, even though they were released yesterday morning. It's almost as if investors are finally waking up to the fact that the report was actually pretty good.
So what: Teck Resources reported an adjusted profit of $16 million, or $0.03 per share, during the fourth quarter. While that was below the $116 million, or $0.20 per share, it earned in the year-ago quarter, commodity prices have been very challenging, which have weighed on earnings. The fact of the matter is that Teck Resources has remained profitable despite a pretty steep slump in commodity prices.
Furthermore, it is guiding to be able to meet all of its 2016 financial commitments while still ending the year with at least $500 million in cash. While that assumes that commodity prices won't weaken and that it hits its full-year guidance for production and costs, it shows that the company has the liquidity to get through the teeth of this downturn without taking on any more debt.
Teck could do better than that if commodity prices, especially copper, continue to rebound. That's one of the other drivers of today's rally with copper up more than 1%, which is taking other big copper producers like Freeport-McMoRan (FCX -0.68%) up double digits as well. Copper stocks are rallying because they directly benefit from higher copper prices, with Teck's EBITDA, for example, increasing by $80 million for every $0.10 per pound change in the price of copper over the course of the year, while a similar change impacts Freeport-McMoRan's EBITDA by $500 million. So, rising copper prices imply better earnings for copper producers.
Supporting copper's rise today is a rebound in the price of oil, which is up nearly 10% on renewed rumors that OPEC is ready to consider a production cut. That's lifting all commodities, as well as companies like Freeport-McMoRan that also produce oil. Even Teck Resources, which doesn't currently produce any oil, wouldn't mind seeing oil going higher considering that it's investing in an oil sands project that's expected to start producing by the end of next year.
Now what: Apparently, investors needed to sleep on Teck's results before realizing that they weren't all that bad, considering the tough market conditions. It certainly didn't hurt that oil and copper prices are higher today, which, if those trends persist, would be good for Teck's future profitability. That said, given the current uncertainty in the global economy, commodity prices and Teck's stock price will likely continue to be very volatile.