Top 3 Copper Miner Stocks by Market Cap

Copper has been known to mankind for thousands of years, and its multiple industrial and speculative uses has solidified its place in the global economy. We have grown to depend on this reddish-brown metal in our day to day lives as it can be found in our wiring systems, plumbing, circuit boards, automobiles, as well as in telecommunications equipment  [for more copper news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

Copper’s numerous applications make the commodity a potentially lucrative play on both the manufacturing and industrial goods sectors. And for those who have a bullish outlook on copper prices and the mining industry, we outline three of the biggest gold mining and exploration companies by market cap.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX)

Quick Stats as of (9/27/2012)

  • Market Cap: $38.1 billion
  • EPS: 3.33
  • Avg Vol: 17 million
  • Beta: 2.26

This mega-company is home to a market cap of $38.1 billion and trades over 17 million times a day. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, the company is primarily engaged in copper, but also explores gold, molybdenum, cobalt hydroxide, silver and other metals. The company has operations in various locations around the globe, including Indonesia, North and South America, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Freeport-McMoRan currently maintains 119.7 billion pounds of copper in proven and probable reserves. Like many other mining companies, FCX suffered terrible losses in the financial crash of 2008, but was able to recover lost ground and surge to new record highs. In addition, FCX boasts an EPS of 3.3 and one of the highest dividend yields in the industry, which comes in around 3.20%.

Southern Copper Corp. (SCCO)

Quick Stats as of (9/27/2012)

  • Market Cap: $29.2 billion
  • EPS: 2.83
  • Avg Vol: 1.7 million
  • Beta: 1.81

Another firm out of Arizona, Souther Copper Corp. is one of the oldest and most well-known U.S. exchange-listed copper mining companies in the world. The company has its hand in nearly every aspect of the copper industry, from mining and milling to smelting and refining copper to produce copper cathodes. SCCO primarily operates mines located in Peru, Mexico, and Chile, but also has maintains exploration concessions in Argentina and Ecuador. Like FCX, this stock was able to recover lost ground from 2008. Over the last year, SCCO has flourished, gaining over 28%. 2012 has proven to be more volatile, but the stock’s prices has still managed to stay in positive territory, rising 7.7% year-to-date [see also The Ten Commandments of Commodity Investing].

Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd. (SLT)

Quick Stats as of (9/27/2012)

  • Market Cap: $6.4 billion
  • EPS: 0.77
  • Avg Vol: 574,000
  • Beta: 2.19

With a total market cap of $6.4 billion, SLT comes in third place on the list. Compared to FCX and SCCO, Sterlite Industries is significantly smaller in size and its trading volume comes in at 574,000 shares a day. The company is however based in India, giving U.S. shareholders a bit of diversification in the mining space. SLT’s EPS of 0.77 and dividend yield at 1.60% does not make it one of the most attractive options from a fundamental perspective and in comparison to other stocks on this list. The company does have several mine developments in the pipeline, which may give the stock a much needed boost in the next few years.

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

About Daniela Pylypczak

Daniela Pylypczak-Wasylyszyn is a regular contributor to CommodityHQ.com, where she primarily focuses on commodity producers equities. She is also an analyst for ETFdb.com, where she contributes articles and analysis each week. Since joining the team in 2011, Daniela has quickly grown to be one of the most widely-followed authors in the industry. Her articles are syndicated in a number of online publications, including Financial Advisor Magazine, Fidelity.com, and Yahoo! Finance. Daniela is also a contributor for TraderHQ.com and Dividend.com. Daniela graduated from DePaul University with a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics.
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