Diversified U.S. mining and energy company Freeport-McMoRan Inc said on Tuesday it is slashing its quarterly dividend by 84 percent in response to the impact of lower commodity prices.The company is cutting its dividend to 5 cents a share from 31-1/4 cents a share/ The stock was off 2.7 percent to $18.80 in trading before the morning bell in New York.Freeport hinted in January it might cut its payout, depending on the direction of copper and oil prices, which dropped sharply in the latter part of 2014.The dividend cut is a prudent means to strengthen Freeport's balance sheet during a period of volatile market conditions, the company said. It added it would consider increasing cash returns to shareholders as market and business conditions warrant.
Freeport-McMoRan Inc. is a natural resource company with an industry portfolio of mineral assets, oil and natural gas resources and a production profile. Shares of FCX remained unchanged at $19.33. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $16.43 and as high as $39.32. On average, 19770600 shares of FCX exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 296534.