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What’s Driving Freeport and Other Copper Producers in 2015?

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Copper prices fall to 2015 highs

Copper prices have recently fallen from their 2015 highs. They have been quite volatile this year. Copper prices fell steeply at the beginning of the year and then recovered smartly, only to lose steam again toward the end of May.

Now with five months of the current calendar year behind us, it’s a good time to analyze the macroeconomic indicators that impact copper companies’ performances.

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What will we cover?

In this series, we’ll look at some of the recent macroeconomic data points and analyze their impact on Freeport-McMoRan (FCX). FCX is a leading natural resources company and among the top copper producers. BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are the other leading copper producers.

Freeport also holds the position of largest molybdenum producer. It also has interests in gold mining. Over the years, Freeport has diversified into energy production. It now holds a significant portfolio of oil and natural gas assets.

Energy assets

Freeport-McMoMoran is also exposed to the volatility in energy prices. Later in this series, we’ll analyze how the energy market is playing out. Freeport’s share price has been quite volatile this year, as you can see in the above chart.

Currently, FCX forms 1.16% of the iShares North American Natural Resources ETF (IGE) and 4.1% of the Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLB).

China is the world’s biggest copper consumer. Copper investors closely analyze trends in China’s copper demand. In the next part of this series, we’ll take a look at some recent developments in the Chinese copper industry.

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