Top copper stocks include Ero Copper Corp., Southern Copper Corp., and Capstone Copper Corp., shares of which have outperformed their peers over the past 12 months.
Copper stocks as a group, represented by the benchmark Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX), fell 13% in the last year, compared with the Russell 1000 Index's 8% decline. Copper prices saw dramatic swings in 2022, jumping to a record high after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February before plummeting by July. They have since risen on a short-term supply shortage and investment in green energy technologies.
Here are the top copper stocks in three categories: best value, fastest growth, and best performance. These are stocks of companies that mine for copper, rather than futures that track the copper commodity. All data throughout are as of April 6.
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 ($)||Market Capitalization ($B)||12-Month Trailing P/E Ratio|
|Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO)||CA$9.28||CA$7.2||12.4|
|Copper Mountain Mining Corp. (CPPMF)||1.61||0.3||15.6|
|Ero Copper Corp. (ERO)||17.59||1.6||15.8|
- Lundin Mining Corp.: Lundin is a Canadian company that mines and explores for copper, zinc, gold, nickel, and other metals in Chile, Brazil, Portugal, Sweden, and the U.S. Lundin shares plunged—alongside the price of copper—from a high of almost CA$14.00 in April 2022 to just over CA$6.00 in September 2022. They have since recovered, but only partially, contributing to Lundin's relatively low P/E ratio. Lundin Mining shares also trade over-the-counter in the U.S. under the ticker LUNMF.
- Copper Mountain Mining Corp.: Copper Mountain Mining is a Canadian copper and mineral development and exploration company. Copper Mountain's earnings per share almost tripled year-over-year for the final quarter of 2022 as a result of the gain on the disposition of its Eva Copper Project, although revenue was down sharply on lower quantities of metals sold. Note that the figures in the table above are for the company's U.S.-listed shares.
- Ero Copper Corp.: Ero is a Canadian company that produces copper, gold, and silver in mining locations primarily in Brazil. Lower copper prices and increased costs for fuel, steel, and parts caused revenue and net income to fall in the fourth quarter of 2022 despite higher sales volume.
Fastest Growing Copper Stocks
These are the top copper stocks as ranked by a growth model that scores companies based on a 50/50 weighting of their most recent quarterly YOY percentage revenue growth and their most recent quarterly YOY earnings-per-share (EPS) growth. Both sales and earnings are critical factors in the success of a company. Therefore ranking companies by only one growth metric makes a ranking susceptible to the accounting anomalies of that quarter (such as changes in tax law or restructuring costs) that may make one or the other figure unrepresentative of the business in general. Companies with quarterly EPS or revenue growth of over 1,000% were excluded as outliers.
|Fastest Growing Copper Stocks|
|Price ($)||Market Cap ($B)||EPS Growth (%)||Revenue Growth (%)|
|Copper Mountain Mining Corp. (CPPMF)||1.61||0.3||195.3||-38.7|
|Capstone Copper Corp. (CS.TO)||CA$5.98||CA$4.1||N/A (see company description)||80.3|
|Southern Copper Corp. (SCCO)||74.71||57.8||8.33||-0.1|
- Copper Mountain Mining Corp.: See company description above. As noted, Copper Mountain's EPS growth in the most recent quarter was due to a one-time gain related to its Eva Copper Project. Still, it has outperformed the majority of copper stocks in the most recent quarter, most of which saw plunging EPS and revenue.
- Capstone Copper Corp.: Capstone is a Canadian copper mining company that operates primarily in the U.S., Mexico, and Chile. The company merged with Bermudan Mantos Copper Ltd. in March 2022, adding Mantos's Mantoverde and Mantos Blancos mines to Capstone's portfolio. Capstone does not have an EPS growth figure in the table above because it posted a net loss in the most recent quarter, but gross copper revenue increased for the final quarter of 2022.
- Southern Copper Corp.: Southern operates copper mines and metallurgical facilities in Mexico and Peru, as well as exploration projects in Argentina, Chile, and Ecuador. Southern Copper's net income rose 8% in the final quarter of 2022, driven by a 38% increase in zinc sales volume.
Copper Stocks With the Best Performance
These are the copper stocks that had the highest total return or lowest decline over the last 12 months.
|Copper Stocks With the Best Performance|
|Price ($)||Market Cap ($B)||12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)|
|Ero Copper Corp. (ERO)||17.59||1.6||22.6|
|Southern Copper Corp. (SCCO)||74.71||57.8||8.9|
|Capstone Copper Corp. (CS.TO)||CA$5.98||CA$4.1||-9.7|
|Russell 1000 Index||N/A||N/A||-7.7|
|Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX)||N/A||N/A||-13.2|
- Ero Copper Corp.: See company description above.
- Southern Copper Corp.: See company description above.
- Capstone Copper Corp.: See company description above.
Trends in Copper Stocks
Demand for copper will likely rise steadily, as it is a critical element in the energy transition because the metal is used in electric vehicles, charging stations, wind turbines, and solar panels. The price of copper is largely influenced by the health of the global economy. This is due to copper's widespread applications in all sectors of the economy, as mentioned, and also in construction, factory equipment, and electronics.
The base metal is seen as a reliable leading indicator. A rising market price suggests strong economic health, while a decline suggests the opposite.
Risks of Copper Stock Investing
Some risk factors to be aware of when considering investing in copper stocks are commodities prices' overall tendency to be much more volatile than traditional stock prices and the environmental risks posed by copper mining.
Growing focus on sustainability may force copper miners to use more expensive methods to extract the metal and could add to the world supply shortage. In 2020, for instance, Anglo-Australian copper miner Rio Tinto Plc (RIO) took a hit from environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investors when it destroyed a site sacred to Indigenous people in Australia. The CEO and two other executives were fired.
YCharts. "Financial Data."
CNBC. "Analysts see short-term strength, long-term ‘generational shift’ in copper prices."
Copper Mountain Mining Corp. "Copper Mountain Mining Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Results and Provides 2023 Guidance."
Ero Copper. "MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2022." Page 13.
Capstone Copper. "Capstone Mining and Mantos Copper Complete Combination to Create Capstone Copper."
Capstone Copper Corp. "Capstone Copper Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2022 Financial Results."
Southern Copper Corp. "Results: Fourth Quarter and Year 2022," Page 1.
CNN. "Rio Tinto CEO Resigns After Destruction of 46,000-Year-Old Sacred Indigenous Site."