Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) - Get Report was trading above $50 a share in January 2011, and in January of this year it traded below $5 a share. The company has a number of base metal mines but relies heavily on copper demand, and that metal has dropped dramatically over the last six years.
This year, however, copper has been attempting to halt its decline by consolidating in a triangle pattern on its weekly chart. It is nearing the apex of the pattern and at some point soon will reveal if the next move is a further continuation of the trend lower, or the start of a new phase that takes prices higher.
A successful breakout from the triangle pattern projects a price target that penetrates the long-term downtrend line, which would be a significant technical event. This price action is playing out positively on the Freeport chart, and setting up a potential long trade.
The daily timeframe shows the stock moving sideways for the last six months while attempting to hold above its flat 200-day moving average. Over the last two months it has formed a "W" bottom above the average and below resistance in the $11.25 area, and is currently testing that resistance.
The stock went through a similar two-month consolidation in May and June, breaking above channel resistance in July, and just missing the target projection before it pulled back. Several of the earlier technical signals are flashing again, suggesting another pattern breakout.
The relative strength index has crossed above its 21-period average and center line, and moving average convergence/divergence has made a bullish crossover and is above its center line, readings reflecting short term positive momentum and trend direction. Chaikin money flow is above its signal average and entering positive territory, suggesting that there is renewed buying interest in the stock.
A break above "W" pattern resistance projects through the six-month downtrend line and back up to the July highs, but more importantly it would correlate with positive price action in copper and could signal an end to the long-term decline in the metal and the stock.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.