U.S. Markets close in 6 hrs 14 mins

Analysts split on Freeport-McMoRan

NEW YORK (AP) -- Analysts offered differing opinions about Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.'s prospects coming out of the company's annual investor meeting.

THE OPINIONS: Citi analyst Brian Yu backed his "Sell" rating and $25 price target for the stock, saying that while he feels slightly better about the company's willingness to cut spending if needed, he remains concerned about the future of copper prices.

If copper and gold prices don't rise, it could hurt Freeport-McMoRan's ability to pay off debt stemming from recent and pending acquisitions, he said.

But Nomura's Curt Woodworth was more optimistic, backing his "Buy" rating and $38 price target. He said that the company is entering a significant growth phase within both the mining and oil and gas segments, which should result in "meaningful" profit growth and debt reduction potential over the next few years.

Woodworth added that he expects copper prices to rebound as demand improves later this year.

THE SHARES: Up 19 cents to $27.01 in afternoon trading. Over the past 52 weeks, Freeport-McMoRan shares have traded between $26.37 and $43.65. The stock is down more than 20 percent since the start of the year.