Last week BHP Billiton [ASX:BHP] had one of its best performances in 2016. Shares rose 13.49% to $17.70 per share. The big news last week was BHP’s agreement with the Brazilian government. Finally the Samarco dam disaster has come to an end. It’s not that BHP can put the whole situation behind them, but an agreement has put a finally ending on the controversy and estimated cost.
The agreement between BHP, Value and the Brazilian Government will play out over 15 years. BHP will pay US$1.1 billion for the first three years (starting 2016). And make further payments between US$200–400 million for the following 12 years.
Investors were also happy with Standard & Poor’s (S&P) affirmation of BHP’s ‘A’ credit rating. The big miner’s credit was downgrade from A+ to A just last month. S&P’s fears were directly related to declining commodity price. However BHP is still betting on an increase in demand from China on a long term basis.
But once BHP decided to cut dividends to build up cash for a rainy day, the big rating agency was satisfied with BHP’s ability to pay their debts. The combined positive news was the reason for the 13.49% increase last week. Whether BHP can match their share price gain again this week is uncertain. But right now they’re off to a good start.
This morning shares jumped up 5% on open, and are continuing to creep up as the day goes on. Instead of company news helping shares, this time it was overseas trading. In US trade BHP Billiton [NYSE:BHP] climbed 7.13%. And in London trade BHP rose 8.64%. It’s not uncommon for BHP to follow the climbs made overseas, before the Australian market opened.
But if you’re thinking this could be the turning point within the mining sector, you could be a little premature. Sure commodities might be showing signs of hope from the start of this year, as shown by the graph below.
Source: Thomson Reuters Datastream
But if we take a long run view on commodities the picture isn’t so great. The Reserve Bank of Australia Index of commodities is still below 2005 levels. Many analysts believe the commodity rebound has actually been overvalued.
But regardless of if the rebound is overvalued or not, BHP is cheap historically. What we are seeing is investors getting in, at what they believe are cheap prices. However we must remember that BHP is not a short term play. Sure shares have yielded returns in double figures in the past week. But to see any really returns, investors might need to hold BHP for the long haul.
Junior Analyst, Money Morning
PS: BHP has fallen 42% since March last year. It’s definitely a stock that bargain buyers are looking at. However there are plenty of other beaten down blue chips out there which you could get your hands on.
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