One of the more important companies reporting today was commodity king Freeport McMoRan which in 2016 has seen its stock plunge then surge on hopes the Chinese bubble reflation will push commodities higher. So far it has worked, but far more important was what FCX' own assessment of the future was: was it preparing for a strong rebound, or instead, was it slashing costs and firing employees in another confirmation that the recent rally has been, as Bank of America's "smart money" clients admit for 13 consecutive weeks, nothing but fumes. It was the latter, because in addition to reporting poor earnings numbers that were largely in line with expectations, the company also announced that it would fire 25% of its oil and gas employees, hardly a ringing endorsement for the future prospects of the energy space.
From the report:
During first-quarter 2016, FCX conducted a formal process involving multiple third-party oil and gas industry and financial participants to evaluate alternatives for the oil and gas business. Further weakening in oil and gas prices and negative credit and financing market conditions during first-quarter 2016 had a significant unfavorable impact on the process. While the process did not identify a buyer for the entire oil and gas business, a number of parties have interest in select assets, and FCX continues to engage in discussions with parties interested in potential asset or joint venture transactions.
In the interim, FCX is taking immediate steps to reduce oil and gas costs further. In April 2016, FCX announced a new management structure and is instituting an approximate 25 percent oil and gas workforce reduction. The newly structured oil and gas management team is actively engaged in managing costs and developing plans to preserve and enhance asset values. FCX expects to record a charge of approximately $40 million in second-quarter 2016 associated with workforce reductions and other restructuring costs.
We fully expect these newly designated "waiters and bartenders" to be touted by the US Labor Secretary as yet another confirmation of Obama's great economic recovery.