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Commodities Let Out a Collective Groan

Matt DiLallo
February 25, 2013

Energy and material stocks didn't fare so well last week. Falling commodity prices were a big reason for the poor performance. Let's take a quick look at which commodities and producers where among the hardest hit, and what we can expect going forward.

Copper down 5.5%
The price of copper sunk last week as part of a general drubbing for commodities across the globe. This caused a free fall in shares of copper producer Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE: FCX), which were down about 8% for the week. As one of the world's top copper producers, it has a lot riding on the commodity, and while the company is diversifying into oil and gas, copper will continue to remain its mainstay. That's not a bad thing, for fellow diversified miner, BHP Billiton, sees a very compelling long-term fundamental outlook for copper with 1 million tonnes of additional production needed each year to keep up with demand.  

Silver down 4.7%
Despite a likely boost in sales of jewelry the week before from Valentine's Day, silver lost its luster last week. Among those feeling the weight of that fall were Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW). Its shares joined those of copper producer Freeport in falling more than 8% on the week. As a royalty streamer, Silver Wheaton benefits from the rise in the price of silver without facing the added risks of operating the mines from which the silver is produced. Unfortunately, that doesn't help much when silver prices plunge as they did last week. If