We continue to have a positive view of industrials (and materials) companies. Relative underperformance in the materials sector was largely driven by new portfolio holding Freeport McMoRan (NYSE:FCX
). Freeport McMoRan is the world's largest publicly traded copper company; we added the stock to the portfolio in October. The company has global reserves of copper, gold and other metals, a strong balance sheet, and, despite weakness in the global economy, generates significant free-cash-flow, even at lower copper prices. Freeport McMoRan shares fell during the quarter after the company announced the acquisition of an oil and gas company. (Investors would have preferred that the company remain focused on copper and metals.) We believe the long-term demand for metals remains positive, particularly from China and Asia, where large infrastructure projects continue to move forward, and expect Freeport McMoRan to recover as it returns to trading in line with the price of copper.
From Columbia Wanger
’s fourth quarter commentary