SOURCE: Five Star Equities

Five Star Equities

April 16, 2012 08:20 ET

Concerns of China's Economic Growth Driving Copper Prices Lower

Five Star Equities Provides Stock Research on Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. and Taseko Mines Limited

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Apr 16, 2012) - Copper futures recorded the biggest weekly loss since mid-December last Friday. Prices fell on increasing concerns that slowing economic growth in China, the world's top consumer, may significantly drop demand. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the Copper Industry and provides equity research on Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX) and Taseko Mines Limited (NYSE: TGB) (TSX: TKO).

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The most-actively traded contract, for May delivery, fell 9.35 cents, or 2.5%, to settle at $3.6270 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. This was the lowest settlement price since Jan. 13. China reported the lowest growth rate in three years of 8.1% in the first quarter from the same period of last year. "Base metals are very closely tied to Chinese growth and, with growth coming in slower than expected, that's obviously relaying concerns regarding copper demand in the months ahead," said Dave Meger, director of metals trading at Vision Financial Markets.

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Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. declared a cash dividend of $0.3125 per share payable on May 1, 2012 to holders of record as of April 13, 2012 for its common stock. As previously announced in February 2012, FCX's Board of Directors authorized an increase in the annual cash dividend on its common stock from $1.00 per share to $1.25 per share, payable quarterly at a rate of $0.3125 per share.

Taseko recently announced 2012 first quarter total production of 20.8 million pounds of copper and 438,000 pounds of molybdenum for its 75% owned Gibraltar Mine. For the first quarter, Taseko's 75% share of sales was 12.7 million pounds of copper and 354,000 pounds of molybdenum. In the first quarter, mill throughput was reduced by approximately 500,000 tons, equivalent to roughly 2.7 million pounds of copper production, due to processing ore from a harder than average portion of the Granite Pit, complicated by extended periods of -30° Celsius weather as well as ground water encountered at the lower level benches.

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