This week saw a flurry of economic and earnings reports, with several well-known commodity firms posting both hits and misses. Newmont Mining Corp (NEM) revenue and earnings came in below expectations, while Suncor Energy (SU) beat forecasts. Independent oil and gas firm Devon Energy Corp. (DVN) beat EPS estimates by $0.10, though the company reported a loss in the first quarter of $1.3 billion [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
When it comes to agribusiness stocks, there is perhaps no name bigger than Monsanto Company (MON) – the world’s leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate and the second biggest producer of genetically engineered seeds. Headquartered in St. Louis, the firm has grown into an over $55 billion company, with operations spanning across the U.S., Europe, Africa, Brazil, Asia-Pacific, Argentina, Canada and Mexico [for more agricultural news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
With the earnings season well on its way, many investors still remain understandably skeptical about several commodity producers’ fourth-quarter reports as global economic uncertainties and demand concerns continue to plague the market. Earnings results thus far have been mixed, while lackluster economic data weighs heavily on commodities. Last week, however, oil giants Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron Corporation (CVX) both posted solid Q4 profits, exceeding analysts’ expectations. Chevron’s victory, however, was short-lived after analysts at UBS cut its stock recommendation [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
With the fourth quarter’s earning season in full swing now, investors have, for the most part, been pleasantly surprised. Though many companies have exceeded expectations, earnings estimates for several commodity producers remain rather bearish as global economic uncertainties and demand concerns have left many understandably leery. Last week, leading oil and gas equipment and services provider Schlumberger (SLB) missed analysts’ estimates, reporting fourth quarter net earnings that fell an abysmal 3.7%. Aluminum giant Alcoa (AA), however, reported revenues well above expectations, and the company predicts aluminum demand growth to rise in 2013–-a crucial and positive indicator for the global economy. This Friday, investors will shift their focus to two major commodity producers; Weyerhaeuser (WY) and Halliburton (HAL) [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Equity markets got off to strong start in 2013 after Congress managed to sign off on a last minute fiscal cliff deal cobbled together by Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden. Euphoria quickly faded, however, with investors shifting their focus back to Washington as Congress begins new rounds of negotiations concerning the debt ceiling and several spending cut deadlines. Understandably, the rather uncertain economic environment has left many wary about the fourth quarter’s earnings season, though analysts predict that the lowered expectations found among investors leaves room for companies to post positive surprises, even if results do not meet last year’s double-digit figures.
Commodities and equities started off the week in a hole as resurfacing Euro zone debt woes propelled the U.S. dollar in the currency markets. Gold is off to a choppy start as well; the precious metal has climbed higher on falling volume over the past three sessions, perhaps suggesting that traders are holding back ahead of Ben Bernanke’s testimony on Thursday. Today, the spotlight shifts onto the global energy bellwether, Exxon Mobil, and its 2011 year-end results [see also Iran Tensions And Crude Oil].
Equity markets have been on a bullish streak all week as positive economic data on the home front coupled with encouraging developments overseas have helped to restore investors’ confidence. Positive momentum on Wall Street has translated into weakness for the U.S. dollar, helping commodities to inch higher across the board. With earnings season well underway, the spotlight shifts to mining giant Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold and firm’s 2011 year-end results [see also 12 High Yielding Commodities For 2012].