Stressed Out: Freeport-McMoRan Tops the S&P 500 on Surge in Oil Prices

 | Apr 08, 2016 | 1:15 PM EDT
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This article is part of a Real Money series on 20 companies investors should consider adding to their distressed watch list.

Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), a member of Real Money's "Stressed Out" watch list, surged to the top of the S&P 500 Friday, as a rally in crude oil prices helped lift a range of energy names.

Shares of Freeport gained about 7% by midday trading, as the Phoenix-based natural resources giant continues to delight shareholders in 2016: FCX stock is up about 39% on the year.

The rally in crude oil prices -- which jumped about 6% Friday, based on U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate -- are providing much needed relief to Freeport, which has been lugging more than $20 billion in debt, up from around $3.5 billion in 2012. Meanwhile, cash has also been pouring off the books at Freeport, with just $224 million booked in its last quarter, which is down more than 50% year over year.

FCX shares were among the most badly hit throughout the sharp decline in oil prices over the past two years, with shares down 73% since the precipitous decline in oil prices began in mid-2014. (Crude prices peaked that summer at over $107 a barrel.)

Meanwhile, shares of Southwestern Energy (SWN) and Range Resources (RRC) followed Freeport in leading the broader index, each booking roughly 6% gains in midday trading.

For more on Real Money's 20 distressed companies to watch:

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