both reported generally improved results in the third quarter, as higher prices helped boost the top line.
Denver-based gold miner Newmont earned $114.4 million, or 28 cents a share, on revenue of $897.0 million in the latest third quarter, compared with earnings of $20.8 million, or 5 cents a share, on revenue of $720.1 million last year. Analysts were forecasting earnings of 24 cents a share in the most recent quarter, according to Thomson First Call.
Newmont sold about 2.1 million ounces of gold in the quarter, roughly the same as a year ago, but the average price was up 16% to $366. The company said it expects to sell 7.3 million to 7.4 million ounces in all of 2003 at an average cost of between $202 and $208 an ounce.
Phoenix-based copper king Phelps lost $300,000, or 4 cents a share, on revenue of $1.03 billion, compared with a loss of $53.7 million, or 64 cents a share, on revenue of $941 million last year. The latest quarter had a charge of 10 cents a share for environmental matters, leaving operating income in line with analysts' 6-cent earnings estimate.
The sales increase reflected higher copper prices, higher molybdenum realizations and higher specialty chemical sales. The company said it sees "definitive signs of improving supply-demand fundamentals and generally improving economic conditions," including higher copper prices, which averaged 79.5 cents a pound in the third quarter and are currently near 90 cents a pound.
The company noted that each 1-cent improvement in its copper margin means roughly $20 million of extra pretax earnings and cash flow on an annualized basis.