Phoenix-based natural resources giant Freeport McMoRan (FCX) topped the S&P 500 Wednesday, as crude oil and precious metal prices increased across the board.
Freeport ticked up more than 10% on the day, continuing a two-month long upswing in which the shares have climbed about 174% since mid-January lows.
Gold and copper prices advanced 2.6% and 1.5%, respectively, Wednesday, while crude picked up 5.75% to $38.42 a barrel, based on U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate.
The jump in oil set off a familiar stock surge among oil and gas names Wednesday, with Southwestern Energy (SWN) and Devon Energy (DVN) each rising about 9%.
Meanwhile Mallinckrodt (MNK) finished last in the index Wednesday, as investors grow increasingly wary over the 2016 growth prospects for Big Pharma. Those concerns came to a head Tuesday, with Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals' (VRX) revisions to its annual earnings projections causing shareholders to flee in droves -- taking more than half of the struggling company's market cap with them.
Mallinckrodt, which has recently come under fire from Citron Research activist short-seller Andrew Left, is under renewed stress as it must contend with a variety of new guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Real Money's Carleton English said in a Wednesday report.
"In an effort to curtail opioid use disorder and overdose, the CDC released new recommendations on Tuesday for prescribing opioid medications, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, for chronic pain," English wrote. While the majority of Dublin-based Mallinckrodt's revenue is derived from its branded drugs, sales of generic opioids accounted for 7% of its revenue in the fourth quarter of 2015."
Overall, the broader index ticked up 0.6% on the day, trailed by a modest 0.4% gain by the Dow Jones industrials.