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DuPont, Freeport McMoRan Bode Well for Earnings

FCX reported net income for fourth-quarter 2012 totaling $743 million, 78 cents a share, compared with net income of $640 million, or 67 cents per share, for fourth-quarter 2011. Annual net income for 2012 was $3.0 billion or $3.19 per share, compared with $4.6 billion or $4.78 per share for the year 2011.

That looks like a big miss to me, but three hours after the announcement shares of FCX were trading almost 4% higher. Go figure!

Look, I already sounded off big-time about FCX last month and its all-of-a-sudden plan to reinvent itself into both an energy company and a precious metals producer. Maybe it's been taking its "plays" from the playbook of Australian conglomerate BHP Billiton (BHP)?

In its 10 a.m. EST conference call FCX gave positive guidance on its copper and gold production businesses. You can read a summary at Freeport-McMoRan's Web site. It's still the largest, publicly traded copper producer in the world, but I wouldn't touch FCX with a 10-foot anaconda at this point; when you look at its five-year chart (notice 2012 especially) I think you'll understand why!

 Chart data by YCharts

FCX's price and trailing-12-month EBITDA look like a poorly made airplane heading for a crash-landing. Maybe all the bad news is baked into this controversial company, and thus today's positive price reaction. Yet with FCX's debt load, its reputation for overpaying for assets it spun off in the past, and the stock's jaded history, it's difficult for me to be optimistic about its immediate future.

Tuesday's upbeat market response to DD's and FCX's announcements bodes well for the remainder of January. The tone for the rest of the week is also positive and Tuesday's corporate news is being viewed favorably. My crystal ball is calling for a mostly up week with low volatility. Time will tell.

At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

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This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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