Glencore is one of the largest mining companies in the world; which is why the significant fluctuations in stock price over the last ten days have been worrying investors. Even more worrying is that there don’t seem to have been any major reasons for these stock movements, leaving many asking  themselves whether other people know something that they don’t.

The mining firm’s stock had been falling for a couple of weeks, but things came to a head on Monday 28th September, when the share price slumped by around 30% over the course of the day, with onlookers left scratching their heads and wondering why. Further examination of the issue highlighted an Investec note on the mining sector as a whole, highlighting how mining companies with high debt levels could be affected by the continuation of low commodity prices – or even a further fall. Glencore has the highest debt levels in the sector, so it’s perfectly possible that investors read the note and came to the conclusion that it would be wise to invest elsewhere for the time being.

The stock price subsequently rose for the rest of the week, finishing on Tuesday 6th at close to 118, far higher than the 97 level the stock had been trading at just prior to the sharp drop. But the price at the day’s close doesn’t tell the whole story; Tuesday saw the firm’s stock initially drop by around 8% before recovering.

For some investors, it would appear that enough is enough – Glencore only went public four years ago, but in that time the company’s stock has dropped by around 80%. While the current level of 117.85 is a significant improvement on the 68.62 in late September, it’s still a far cry from the 523.7 that the stock was trading at on its launch in November 2011.

In September, Glencore set out a plan to significantly reduce its high debt level, with plans for a dividend being shelved, potential asset sales discussed and the issuing of new equity also mentioned. This announcement was met positively; however, subsequent weeks have suggested that investors are not convinced, the clearest of indication of that dissatisfaction has been the drop in share price. Others have pointed fingers at Ivan Glasenberg, the CEO of Glencore, who has presided over this slump in the firm’s fortunes. Glasenberg’s tendency to dismiss or deflect criticism was evident in a conference earlier this week, when he blamed Hedge Funds for driving down copper prices and stated his belief that the metal, which is one of the firm’s core products, would rebound; however, it was noticeable that Mr Glasenberg did not spend a lot of time talking about the increasingly difficult situation that Glencore itself appears to be in.  China’s economic slowdown and the subsequent decline of the world’s biggest commodities importer has seen mining companies fall across the board over the last few months – but Glencore stock has been falling for a lot longer than that.