Why Freeport-McMoRan Stock Jumped Today, and Barrick Gold Dropped

What happened

As recently as September, executives at gold miner Barrick Gold (NYSE: GOLD), with its market capitalization of $35 billion, were speaking publicly about their desire to acquire copper and gold miner Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE: FCX), with its market cap of $55 billion.

That deal now appears unlikely to happen, and in response to the news, Freeport stock was 9.2% higher at 2:15 p.m. EST today, while Barrick stock had lost 2.8%.

Red arrow goes down and green arrow goes up

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

In September, Reuters reported that Barrick wanted to buy part or even all of Freeport, hoping to get hold of the world's largest copper mine in the process. But Freeport was said to be uninterested, and Barrick had not made an official offer. Now it seems it will not make an offer at all.

Global copper prices have roughly doubled over the past year, rising from a nadir near $2.10 last March to yesterday's close at $3.90 per pound, helping Freeport's stock price to nearly triple over the past year. Meanwhile, Barrick's shares were down 5% from a year ago.

Acknowledging these dynamics in market valuation, Barrick CEO Mark Bristow told Bloomberg News today that he thinks Barrick may have missed its chance to acquire Freeport at an attractive valuation, for the time being at least. Barrick shareholders today seem disappointed, but Freeport investors seem relieved they won't get acquired by an underperforming stock.

Now what

But with cyclical commodity companies, what's true today might no longer be true a year or more from now -- if, for example, gold gets more valuable over time and copper less so.

Barrick seems to be thinking along these lines, too, with Bristow adding, "We'll step back and maybe there'll be other opportunities." Barrick might decide to buy somebody else or simply bide its time until Freeport stock gets cheap again.

10 stocks we like better than Freeport-McMoRan Inc
When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Freeport-McMoRan Inc wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

See the 10 stocks

*Stock Advisor returns as of November 20, 2020

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

In This Story


Latest Markets Videos

    The Motley Fool

    Founded in 1993 in Alexandria, VA., by brothers David and Tom Gardner, The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company dedicated to building the world's greatest investment community. Reaching millions of people each month through its website, books, newspaper column, radio show, television appearances, and subscription newsletter services, The Motley Fool champions shareholder values and advocates tirelessly for the individual investor. The company's name was taken from Shakespeare, whose wise fools both instructed and amused, and could speak the truth to the king -- without getting their heads lopped off.

    Learn More