Freeport rebounds after 20 percent sell-off

Freeport-McMoRan rebounds after stock tumbles to all-time low in post-acquisition sell-off

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold rebounded Friday after investors punished the miner for two days following its announcement of a $9 billion acquisition of a pair of oil and gas producers.

Wall Street hated the deal from the start and the analyst downgrades piled up quickly from the likes of Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, RBC, Goldman, Citi, Macquarie and BMO.

Finally, after shares hit an all-time low Thursday, the company got some breathing room Friday with a share rebound of nearly 4 percent. Investors, sizing up a mining behemoth with a market capitalization of more than $30 billion, took the 20 percent sell-off in shares as a good time to get in cheap, even if they don't like the deal.

At one point, the Freeport-McMoRan was the top percentage gainer on the Standard & Poor's 500.

The company says it wants to soften volatile commodity markets by broadening the number of commodities that it pursues, so if gold tumbles, its losses can be mitigated by holdings in other commodities, such as natural gas and crude.

Even analysts that frowned on the deal acknowledged that financing it wasn't a problem for Freeport-McMoRan. But most said that while the company may seek diversity, investors already have that. If they want exposure to crude and natural gas, they will buy shares in energy companies or in energy based exchange traded funds.

The massive deal for the energy companies Plains Exploration & Production Co. and McMoRan Exploration Co., which comes with $11 billion in debt, dilutes a pure play miner in the eyes of the investors who dumped stock at an astounding rate.

Yet shares in Freeport-McMoRan also hit an all-time high this year, and the company's CEO, James Moffett, is a legendary wildcatter who thrives on risk and reaps huge rewards when he does so.

Shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold rose $1.22 to $32.03 in afternoon trading.

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