BHP Billiton Raised To Buy At Argus On Positive Outlook For Materials
Although sales and earnings at BHP Billiton Limited (ADR) (NYSE: BHP) have been hit by declining commodity prices, many product prices seem to be “nearing a cycle bottom,” Argus’s John Eade said in a report. He upgraded the rating on the company to Buy, while establishing a price target of $40.
Management’s FY17 FCF guidance of $7 billion assumes productivity gains and stable commodity prices.
Benefits To Earnings
Analyst Eade commented that BHP Billiton’s are poised to benefit from “stable-to-higher commodity prices,” with prices for many products nearing a cycle bottom. Argus analysts recently raised their rating on the Materials sector to Overweight.
BHP Billiton has been able to offset the adverse impact of weak pricing and strengthen its balance sheet through cost control initiatives, asset sales, and a substantial cut in its semiannual dividend. The company’s earnings are expected to continue to benefit from management’s actions to lower costs, Eade added.
Moreover, earnings may be boosted over time by “global economic stimulus measures” as well as production cuts in China.
Although BHP Billiton’s shares have outperformed the S&P 500 over the past quarter, they are trading substantially below their 10-year high above $100, the analyst commented.
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