According to analysts from research firm FactSet Research Systems, the blended third-quarter earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 companies currently stands at 1.6%. The blended earnings results combine actual results for the companies that have reported earnings already and the estimated results for the companies yet to release their earnings reports. Surprisingly, the blended growth rate of 1.6% is much higher than the blended earnings figure of negative 0.5% observed a little more than a week ago and the year-over-year estimate decline of 2.2% expected at the end of the third quarter.
It appears that the so-called earnings recession will finally come to a halt this quarter. Should the third-quarter earnings growth be positive this quarter, it will be the first time the S&P 500 index has observed year-over-year growth in earnings since the first quarter of 2015. As the busiest earnings week of this quarter is behind us already, the insider trading activity has started to intensify over the past several trading sessions. Thus, the following article will discuss a set of noteworthy insider transactions reported with the SEC on Friday.
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Board Member at Large Copper Producer Buys Shares After Earnings Release
Let’s begin our discussion by looking into the insider buying activity at Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX). Courtney Mather, who was appointed to the company’s Board of Directors in early October of 2015 as part of an agreement between activist investor Carl Icahn and Freeport-McMoRan, snapped up 150,000 shares on Thursday at prices ranging from $10.68 to $10.78 per share. Following the recent set of purchases, Mr. Mather currently holds an ownership stake of 190,523 shares.
The world’s largest publicly-traded copper producer has seen the value of its shares advance by an impressive 62% since the start of the year. The aforementioned insider purchase comes shortly after Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX) reported a third-quarter profit of $217 million, which broke a streak of seven consecutive quarterly losses for the company. This figure compares with a loss of $3.83 billion recorded for the same period of the prior year, with the year-earlier bottom-line figure reflecting impairments of $3.65 billion related to the company’s oil and gas properties. The biggest U.S. mining company by market value previously announced plans to cut its debt load and restore the health of its balance sheet through a combination of asset sales, cash flow from operations, and possible capital market transactions. Earlier this month, Freeport-McMoRan agreed to sell its onshore California oil and gas properties for $592 million in cash. Beech Hill Partners, led by current President and CEO Paul Cantor, reported owning 70,600 shares of Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX) through the current round of 13F filings.
The next two pages of this article will discuss the fresh insider trading observed at four other companies.