BHP Billiton (BHP) Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “BHP Billiton’s cash flow remains robust, backed by strong operational performance and higher prices and the company has lowered its net debt considerably. Its investment plans are also on track across iron ore, copper, coal and petroleum. Recently, BHP Billiton entered an agreement to acquire 6.1% interest in SolGold, with which it will gain shares of the Cascabel copper-gold project in Ecuador. Over the last year, BHP Billiton’s shares have outperformed the industry. BHP has entered agreements for the sale of its onshore U.S. assets for $10.8 billion, to simplify and strengthen its portfolio and generate shareholder However, an oversupply situation in the mining market will likely hurt the company’s near-term results.”

Other equities research analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Investec downgraded BHP Billiton from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, June 15th. ValuEngine downgraded BHP Billiton from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Friday, September 7th. Finally, Deutsche Bank downgraded BHP Billiton from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Monday, September 10th. Nine analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. BHP Billiton has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $48.20.

Shares of NYSE BHP traded up $0.12 during trading on Friday, reaching $47.81. The company had a trading volume of 2,921,128 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,511,922. BHP Billiton has a twelve month low of $40.19 and a twelve month high of $52.62. The stock has a market cap of $80.04 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.23, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.73 and a beta of 1.14. The company has a quick ratio of 2.24, a current ratio of 2.51 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.40.

The firm also recently disclosed a semiannual dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 25th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 7th were given a $1.26 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 6th. This represents a dividend yield of 5.32%. This is an increase from BHP Billiton’s previous semiannual dividend of $0.80. BHP Billiton’s payout ratio is currently 75.00%.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. lifted its stake in shares of BHP Billiton by 3.6% in the first quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 51,453 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $2,285,000 after acquiring an additional 1,802 shares in the last quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA lifted its stake in shares of BHP Billiton by 46.0% in the first quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 16,241 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $722,000 after acquiring an additional 5,115 shares in the last quarter. Hsbc Holdings PLC acquired a new position in shares of BHP Billiton in the first quarter worth about $262,000. Stifel Financial Corp lifted its stake in shares of BHP Billiton by 57.4% in the first quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 109,792 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $4,868,000 after acquiring an additional 40,037 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BB&T Securities LLC lifted its stake in shares of BHP Billiton by 39.4% in the first quarter. BB&T Securities LLC now owns 14,159 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $629,000 after acquiring an additional 4,000 shares in the last quarter. 3.32% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About BHP Billiton

BHP Billiton Limited discovers, acquires, develops, and markets natural resources worldwide. It operates through four segments: Petroleum, Copper, Iron Ore, and Coal. The company explores for copper, silver, lead, zinc, molybdenum, uranium, gold, and iron ores, as well as metallurgical coal, thermal energy coal, and oil and gas properties.

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