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McMoRan ( MMR)

Background: McMoRan Exploration engages in the exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in the Gulf Coast area of the United States. The company was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana. McMoRan trades an average of 2.3 million shares per day with a marketcap of $2 billion.

52-Week Range: $7.76 to $16.57

Book Value: $10.22

Price to Book: 1.9

Investors aren't expecting an improvement in earnings. Analysts forecast per share results below last year in the same quarter. The earnings release is planned before the market opens on Oct. 19.

The consensus estimate is currently a loss of 14 cents a share, abating 8 cents from a loss of 6 cents during the matching period in the previous year. Loss estimates from analysts range from as deep as losing18 cents per share, up to as "little" as a loss of 4 cents per share.

Real Money's Henry Schwartz writes about McMoRan in Steep and Flat Skews .

Taken as a whole, the analysts are not bestowing much direction for McMoRan. Three out of 10 analysts rate McMoRan a hold. Five recommend this company as a buy and 1 recommends selling. Shares appreciated 8.4% in the last year, and the average analyst target price for McMoRan Exploration Co. is $14.06.

Shares have sold off since summer, but are not extremely oversold yet. Without beating estimates for the quarter and raising guidance, it appears McMoRan may test single-digit prices again soon.

Short interest with this stock is very high. More than one in five shares is short. Shorts are the smart money, but when they pile on this hard it can backfire too. The proportion of the float short is 22.2%. If they can hit the ball out of the bark, McMoRan has the makings for a short squeeze.

Weinstein Stock Tip: Expect upward price action leading up toward the release as shorts cover and or hedge with options. Don't assume increases leading up to the release are a result of favorable results leaked.

MMR Revenue Quarterly Chart MMR Revenue Quarterly data by YCharts

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