The price of the commodity is your only concern when investing in copper futures, but more factors can affect the price of a copper stock than just the price of copper. Stocks tend to move with the overall market. If the stock market is trending lower, copper stocks could still be under pressure even if the price of copper is moving higher.
A good rule of thumb to remember is that higher copper prices tend to indicate a growing economy. The world economies should also be taken into account, as demand for copper is worldwide. Building construction is the main driver for copper demand.
Below are the main publicly traded copper producers in the United States. They are the largest and probably the more conservative investments in the industry. There are many smaller copper producers, but they are much more speculative.
- Freeport McMoran [FCX]
- Southern Copper Corp [PCU]
- Encore Wire Corporation [WIRE]