Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX): Today's Featured Basic Materials Winner

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 2%. By the end of trading, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold rose 85 cents (2%) to $42.64 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 33.3 million shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 16.7 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $42.56-$43.65 after having opened the day at $43 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $41.79. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: BioFuel Energy Corporation ( BIOF), up 40.1%, Uranium Resources ( URRE), up 21.1%, Royale Energy ( ROYL), up 19.5%, and Pacific Ethanol ( PEIX), up 19.2%.
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Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. engages in the exploration, mining, and production of mineral resources. The company primarily explores for copper, gold, molybdenum, cobalt hydroxide, silver, and other metals, such as rhenium and magnetite. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold has a market cap of $38.06 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 12, equal to the average metals & mining industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 13.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 16 analysts that rate Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the basic materials sector could consider Materials Select Sector SPDR ( XLB) while those bearish on the basic materials sector could consider ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd ( SBM).

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