The copper industry is comprised of companies involved in the exploration, extraction, development, and production of copper, one of the most widely used metals. Copper is used for a broad range of applications including construction, electronics, industrial machinery, transportation, power generation, and transmission. The largest names in the sector include Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX), Australia-based OZ Minerals Ltd. (OZL), and China-based Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. (2899.HK).
Copper stocks, represented by the Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX), have outperformed the broader market by a wide margin. COPX's total return over the past 12 months is 136.6%, more than four times the Russell 1000's total return of 31.9%, as of March 8, 2021. All statistics in the tables below are as of March 7.
Here are the top 3 copper stocks with the best value, the fastest earnings growth, and the most momentum.
Best Value Copper Stocks
These are the copper stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. Because profits can be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks, a low P/E ratio shows you’re paying less for each dollar of profit generated.
|Best Value Copper Stocks|
|Price ($)||Market Cap ($B)||12-Month Trailing P/E Ratio|
|Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. ( TRQ.TO)||CA$18.06||CA$3.6||6.9|
|Copper Mountain Mining Corp. ( CMMC.TO)||CA$2.98||CA$0.6||16.6|
|Southern Copper Corp. ( SCCO)||73.74||57.0||36.3|
- Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.: Turquoise Hill Resources is a Canada-based mining company engaged in the exploration and development of mineral and metal properties. The company conducts copper and gold mining operations at the Oyu Tolgoi mine in southern Mongolia. The company on March 8 announced results for Q4 2020 ending December 31. Income rose more than 120.% year-over-year (YOY) to $241.6 million on an 83% increase in revenue, driven by strong growth in copper and gold revenue. The company had higher income despite recognizing lower deferred tax assets. On March 4, Turquoise Hill announced that Chief Executive Officer Ulf Quellman resigned, effectively immediately, in the "best interests of the company." Steeve Thibeault, the company's former chief financial officer, is the interim CEO. In a published statement, the company said that Thibeault stepped down after Rio Tinto, a majority shareholder, said that it would not vote for Thibeault's re-election at the May shareholder meeting.
- Copper Mountain Mining Corp.: Copper Mountain Mining is a Canadian-based developer of mineral properties focused on copper mining operations. The company's flagship property is its majority interest in Copper Mountain, a mine located in southern British Columbia that produces 100 million pounds of copper per year.
- Southern Copper Corp.: Southern Copper is engaged in the exploration, development, and production of copper. In the process, the company also produces several by-products including molybdenum, silver, zinc, sulfuric acid, and other metals. On January 25, the company reported results for Q4 2020 ending December 31. Net income grew by 93.1% on a 26.7% increase in net sales to $2.4 billion.
Fastest Growing Copper Stocks
These are the copper stocks with the highest YOY earnings per share (EPS) growth for the most recent quarter. Rising earnings show that a company’s business is growing and is generating more money that it can reinvest or return to shareholders.
|Fastest Growing Copper Stocks|
|Market Cap ($B)||EPS Growth (%)|
|Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX)||35.02||51.1||7,670|
|Ero Copper Corp. ( ERO.TO)||CA$21.16||CA$1.8||90.5|
|Southern Copper Corp. (SCCO)||73.74||$57.0||90.0|
- Freeport-McMoRan Inc.: Freeport-McMoRan produces copper, gold, and molybdenum. It mines a large copper and gold mining deposit in Indonesia, plus major operations in North and South America. For Q4 2020 ended December 31, the company reported that net income attributable to common stock soared to $708 million, up from $9 million in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue rose 14.9% (YOY) to $4.5 billion on rising copper and gold sales.
- Ero Copper Corp.: Ero Copper is a Canada-based mining company that engages in the production and sale of copper, gold, and silver in mining locations primarily in Brazil.
- Southern Copper Corp.: See company description above.
Copper Stocks with the Most Momentum
These are the copper stocks that had the highest total return over the last 12 months.
|Copper Stocks with the Most Momentum|
|Price ($)||Market Cap ($M)||12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)|
|Copper Mountain Mining Corp. (CMMC.TO)||CA$2.98||CA$618.8||534.0|
|Capstone Mining Corp. ( CS.TO)||CA$3.60||CA$1,472.0||453.8|
|Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX)||35.02||51,130.0||250.6|
|Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX)||N/A||N/A||136.6|
- Capstone Mining Corp.: Capstone Mining is a Canada-based company involved in the mining and production of minerals including copper, zinc, gold, silver, and iron. Its two producing copper mines are Pinto Valley (U.S.) and Cozamin (Mexico), plus a 70% interest in the Santa Domingo project in Chile. In Q4 2020, net income more than doubled to $27.6 million as revenue grew 30.4% YOY to $148.1 million. The company exceeded both production and cost guidance for full-year 2020.
- Copper Mountain Mining Corp.: See above for company description.
- Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.: See above for company description.
The comments, opinions and analyses expressed herein are for informational purposes only and should not be considered individual investment advice or recommendations to invest in any security or to adopt any investment strategy. While we believe the information provided herein is reliable, we do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. The views and strategies described on our content may not be suitable for all investors. Because market and economic conditions are subject to rapid change, all comments, opinions, and analyses contained within our content are rendered as of the date of the posting and may change without notice. The material is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region, market, industry, investment, or strategy.
YCharts. "Financial Data." Accessed March 8, 2021.
Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. "Turquoise Hill Announces Financial Results and Review of Operations for 2020," Page 6. Accessed March 9, 2021.
Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. "Turquoise Hill Announces Management Change." Accessed March 8, 2021.
Southern Copper Corp. "Results Fourth Quarter and Year 2020," Page 2. Accessed March 8, 2021.
Freeport-McMoRan Inc. "Freeport-McMoRan Reports Fourth Quarter and Year Ended 2020 Results," Page IV. Accessed March 8, 2021.
Capstone Mining Corp. "Capstone Mining Corp. Management's Discussion and Analysis and Consolidated Financial Statements," Page 10. Accessed March 9, 2021.