Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. Earnings: Four Quarters of Rising Profit Now Broken

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX) reported its results for the third quarter. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold is an international company that mines copper, gold and molybdenum.

Investing Insights: Gold Declines, But Support Remains>>

Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Third Quarter

Results: Net income for Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. fell to $1.05 billion ($1.10 per share) vs. $1.18 billion ($1.24 per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 10.6% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 0.8% to $5.2 billion from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: FCX fell short of the mean analyst estimate of $1.21 per share. It beat the average revenue estimate of $4.92 billion.

Quoting Management: James R. Moffett, Chairman of the Board, and Richard C. Adkerson, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Our third-quarter 2011 results reflect strong operating performance and favorable markets for our products. While the near-term economic outlook is uncertain and has resulted in a decline in copper prices over the last several weeks, the fundamentals of our business are strong and we have a positive view of the long-term market fundamentals. As we address union labor issues at our mines, our strategy continues to focus on effective execution of our operating plans, aggressive cost management and investing in projects with attractive rates of return to enhance our global portfolio of large-scale, long-lived and high-quality assets.”

Key Stats:

Last quarter’s profit decrease breaks a streak of four consecutive quarters of year-over-year profit increases. In the second quarter, net income rose more than twofold from the year earlier, while the figure increased 58.6% in the first quarter, 52% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year and 20.3% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue increased 50.5% to $5.81 billion in the second quarter. The figure rose 30.9% in the first quarter from the year earlier and climbed 21.5% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year from the year-ago quarter.

The company fell short of forecasts after beating estimates in the previous two quarters. In the second quarter, it topped the mark by 15 cents, and in the first quarter, it was ahead by 31 cents.

Looking Forward: Over the past ninety days, the average estimate for the fourth quarter has fallen from $1.47 per share to $1.20, indicating that analysts are growing pessisimistic about the company’s performance next quarter. The average estimate for the fiscal year is $5.44 per share, down from $5.99 ninety days ago.

Competitors to Watch: Southern Copper Corp. (NYSE:SCCO), Rio Tinto plc (NYSE:RIO), Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE:NEM), Taseko Mines Limited (AMEX:TGB), HudBay Minerals Inc. (NYSE:HBM), Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA), Western Copper Corporation (WRN), Royal Gold, Inc. (NASDAQ:RGLD), Augusta Resource Corp. (AMEX:AZC), and Vista Gold Corp. (AMEX:VGZ).

Investing Insights: Gold Declines, But Support Remains>>

(Source: Xignite Financials)