Which had the better year in 2023: Pilbara Minerals, BHP or Fortescue shares?

We assess the performance of these popular ASX 200 mining giants.

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A group of three men in hard hats and high visibility vests stand together at a mine site while one points and the others look on with piles of dirt and mining equipment in the background.

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Comparing the performance of three ASX 200 mining giants is a complicated matter, particularly when they each dig up a variety of metals and minerals and have different business growth strategies.

So, let's keep it simple and look at the metrics that matter most to ASX investors: Share price movement (capital gain or loss) and dividend payments.

On this basis, did Pilbara Minerals Ltd (ASX: PLS), BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) or Fortescue Ltd (ASX: FMG) shares have a better year in 2023?

On share price movement, Fortescue shares win

As the chart below shows, Fortescue shares were superior to Pilbara Minerals shares and BHP shares for capital growth in 2023.

The Fortescue share price rose by 41.5% to close 2023 at $29.02. Today, Fortescue shares are changing hands for $28, up 0.9% for the day.

The BHP share price rose by 10.5% to close last year at $50.41. Today, BHP shares are selling for $48.94, up 0.58% for the day.

The Pilbara Minerals share price rose by 5.35% to close 2023 at $3.95. Today, Pilbara Minerals shares are trading for $3.86, up 1.58% for the day.

On dividend payments, BHP shares win… or do they?

In 2023, BHP shares paid an interim dividend of $1.3636 in March and a final dividend of $1.25076 in September. This totalled $2.6143 in annual dividends, fully franked.

Fortescue shares delivered a 75-cent interim dividend in March. They then paid a $1 final dividend in September for a total annual dividend of $1.75 plus full franking credits.

Pilbara Minerals shares paid a maiden dividend of 11 cents in March. The ASX lithium share paid a final dividend of 14 cents in September. That's a total annual dividend of 25 cents fully franked.

So, in dollar value terms, BHP shares win.

But what about yield terms?

Well, if we base trailing dividend yield calculations on today's share prices, Pilbara Minerals shares win.

The Pilbara Minerals dividend yield is currently 6.48%.

Fortescue shares are paying a trailing dividend yield of 6.25%.

And finally, the BHP dividend yield is currently 5.34%.

Motley Fool contributor Bronwyn Allen has positions in BHP Group. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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