The copper industry is comprised of companies involved in the exploration, extraction, development, and production of copper, one of the most widely used metals today. Copper is used for a broad range of applications in electronics, construction, power generation, and transmission. Some of the big names in the sector include China-based Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd., Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX), and Australia-based OZ Minerals Ltd. (OZL).

Copper stocks, as represented by the Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX), have outperformed the broader market. COPX has provided a total return of 22.7% over the past 12 months, well above the Russell 1000's total return of 15.2%, as of September 14, 2020. All statistics in the tables below are as of September 15.

Here are the top 3 copper stocks with the best value, least profit decline, 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
Imperial Metals Corp. (III.TO) CA$3.55 CA$0.5 1.4
Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ.TO) CA$1.11 CA$2.2 4.9
KAZ Minerals PLC (KZMYY) 3.67 3.5 6.7

Source: YCharts

  • Imperial Metals Corp.: Imperial Metals is a Canada-based metals and mining company. It explores and mines for copper, gold, and molybdenum. The company announced in early July the appointment of Darb Dhillon to the roles of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Corporate Secretary. Dhillon will replace Andre Deepwell, who is retiring.
  • 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. Turquoise Hill reported income of $72.3 million in Q2 2020 ended June 30, 2020, compared to a loss of $736.7 million in the year-ago quarter. The company said the difference was primarily due to a $600 million impairment charge recorded in Q2 2019. Revenue declined 27.4%, primarily due to decreased gold and copper production as well as the drop in the average price of copper resulting from the impact of COVID-19.
  • KAZ Minerals PLC: KAZ Minerals is a U.K.-based copper mining company. It focuses on the development of new copper mining projects and conducts its operations in the U.K., Kazakhstan, and Hong Kong.

Copper Stocks With the Least Profit Decline

These are the copper stocks with the highest least year-over-year (YOY) earnings per share (EPS) declines for the most recent quarter. A company’s ability to maintain profitability in a difficult business environment can be a sign of good management and/or a strong business model.

Copper Stocks With the Least Profit Decline

 

Price ($)

Market Cap ($B) EPS Growth (%)
Southern Copper Corp. (SCCO) 47.79 37.0 -34.6
Ero Copper Corp. (ERO.TO) CA$19.50 CA$1.7 -51.2
Imperial Metals Corp. (III.TO) CA$3.56 CA$0.5 N/A

Source: YCharts

  • 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. Southern Copper reported a 35.5% decline in net income on a 1.8% decline in sales in Q2 2020, which ended June 30, 2020. The company noted that lower metal prices for copper, molybdenum, and zinc contributed to lower revenue for the quarter.
  • 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. The company reported a 49.7% decline in net income on a 7.5% drop in revenue in Q2 2020, which ended June 30, 2020. The company said that the COVID-19 pandemic is having little impact on its operations, supply chains, and sales channels thus far.
  • Imperial Metals Corp.: See above for company description. (The company reported positive earnings in the most recent period compared to negative earnings in the year-ago period).

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 (%)
Capstone Mining Corp. (CS.TO) CA$1.38 CA$552.6 142.1
Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ.TO) CA$1.11 CA$2,234 73.4
Imperial Metals Corp. (III.TO) CA$3.55 CA$456.1 57.8
Russell 1000 N/A N/A 15.2
Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX) N/A N/A 22.7

Source: YCharts

  • 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. Capstone has projects in Chile, Mexico, and Canada. The company reported net income of $4.3 million in Q2 2020 ended June 30, 2020, compared to a net loss of $27.2 million in the year-ago quarter. The company said net income was boosted by positive non-cash pricing adjustments of $13.6 million. Revenue for the quarter declined 7.6%. Capstone said that it was reinstating its original 2020 production and cost guidance since COVID-19 has not had a significant impact on its operations to date.
  • Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.: See above for company description.
  • Imperial Metals Corp.: See above for company description.