Top 5 Silver Mining Stocks By Market Cap

Although often overshadowed by gold, silver is one of the world’s best-known commodities. The precious metal is used as a safe haven investment as well as a play on larger macroeconomic trends, as silver has a significant role in the industrial world. Physical and futures-based investments in silver have been a mainstay in many investors portfolios for years now, but allocations to silver mining and exploration companies have quickly solidified their place in the commodity world [for more silver news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter]. 

Although they do not have a perfect correlation to spot bullion prices, these stocks offer indirect access to one of the world’s most popular commodity investments while at the same time providing equity exposure that has a unique risk/return profile. For those who have a bullish outlook on silver prices and the mining industry, we outline five of the biggest silver mining and exploration companies by market cap.

Silver Wheaton Corp (SLW)

Quick Stats as of (10/12/2012)

  • Market Cap: $13.8 billion
  • EPS: 1.60
  • Avg Vol: 4.4 million
  • Beta: 1.24

This mega-company is home to a market cap of $13.8 million and trades nearly 4.3 million times a day. Headquartered in Canada, the company acquires silver and gold from counterparties located in Mexico, the U.S., Greece, Sweden, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Portugal. Since the financial crash in 2008, SLW has been able to fully recover and surpass its pre-recession highs. Currently, the stock is up over 1000% since hitting its low in October of 2008. And despite some rough trading during 2012′s summer slump, SLW is up over 36% year-to-date.

First Majestic Silver Corp (AG) 

Quick Stats as of (10/12/2012)

  • Market Cap: $2.6 billion
  • EPS: 0.84
  • Avg Vol: 807,000
  • Beta: 1.31

Another Canadian firm, First Majestic Silver engages in the acquisition, development, and exploration of silver in Mexico. From 2006 to 2010, the stock struggled to gain significant traction, but after the company began expanding their operations, the stock price hit its all time high in July of 2011 at $24.94 a share. Compared to other companies in the industry, AG does have a relatively low trading volume at 807,000 shares a day [see also Jim Rogers: Silver Is a Better Investment Than Gold].

Coeur d’Alene Mines Corporation (CDE)

Quick Stats as of (10/12/2012)

  • Market Cap: $2.6 billion
  • EPS: 0.77
  • Avg Vol: 1.8 million
  • Beta: 1.51

With a total market cap of $2.6 billion, CDE comes in third place on the list. Headquartered in Idaho, this firm is the largest U.S-based primary silver producer and a growing gold producer. CDE has operations in the U.S., Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, and Australia. Since peaking in 1990, the stock has taken a brutal downfall, with losses amounting to over 80%. Over the past two years however, CDE has gained some traction, but its performance in 2012 has been somewhat rocky.

Hecla Mining Co (HL)

Quick Stats as of (10/12/2012)

  • Market Cap: $1.8 billion
  • EPS: 0.30
  • Avg Vol: 5 million
  • Beta: 1.68

Also based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Hecla Mining boasts a market cap of  $1.8 billion and  is one of the most heavily traded silver mining stocks on the market, with an average daily trading volume of 5 million shares. The firm specializes in offering gold and silver to precious metals traders, but also sells lead, zinc, and bulk concentrates to custom smelters. HL’s operations are much more concentrated, with only two operating mines and explorations properties located Alaska and northern Idaho. In terms of fundamentals, HL’s beta falls inline with the industry average, but its EPS of $0.30 is relatively lower than other company’s on this list.

Silver Standard Resources Inc. (SSRI)

Quick Stats as of (10/12/2012)

  • Market Cap: $1.2 billion
  • EPS: 0.71
  • Avg Vol: 966,000
  • Beta: 1.65

Another Canadian firm, Silver Standard Resources comes in last on our list with a market cap of $1.2 billion and an ADV of  966,000. Like all the other stocks on this list, SSRI’s share price plummeted in 2008, falling roughly 80% from its pre-recession high. Despite being nearly decimated, the stock managed to regain some lost ground, but has struggled over the past year [see also Four Little Known Factors Driving The Price Of Silver].

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

About Daniela Pylypczak

Daniela Pylypczak-Wasylyszyn is a regular contributor to, where she primarily focuses on commodity producers equities. She is also an analyst for, 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,, and Yahoo! Finance. Daniela is also a contributor for and Daniela graduated from DePaul University with a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics.
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