In mid-afternoon trade, the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO), was trading 0.5% higher. However, shares in the following four companies were underperforming.

  1. BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) – down 3.2%

London-listed shares of BHP were sold off overnight, and it seems their ASX brethren have followed suit. The ‘big Australian’ has witnessed its shares fall 15% in 2016 so far, as further share price falls were triggered by global growth concerns. The company didn’t release any material news today, but following the announcement of its results last week, analysts have moved to downgrade the miner’s shares. Goldman Sachs and RBC Capital Markets this week slapped the miner’s shares with a $15.50 and $15 price target, respectively.

  1. AGL Energy Ltd (ASX: AGL) – down 2.8%

Like BHP, AGL Energy shares have fallen by the wayside on account of slumping commodity prices, write-downs to assets, and profit and analyst downgrades. According to Dow Jones Newswires, analysts from RBC Capital Markets, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and UBS each altered their price targets on AGL Energy shares this week. Four banks raised their targets while one cut its fair value estimate.

  1. Computershare Limited (ASX: CPU) – down 2.55%

Computershare reported its results yesterday and was heavily downgraded by the market. The worse-than-expected results produced a total of five analyst downgrades, some as low as $7.80. The company reported a lift in statutory net profit for its most recent half-year, but warned of a softening operating environment. It expects to report a 7.5% fall in management earnings per share over its full 2016 financial year.

  1. XERO FPO NZ (ASX: XRO) – down 2%

Xero shares appear to have been caught up in the market’s general malaise and also the global selloff in technology stocks. The company is down 29% since January 1. For comparison, the world’s leading technology exchange, the NASDAQ, is down 14.4% in that time. With the company yet to post a profit and global market volatility ticking upwards, it’s possible investors perceive Xero to be a high-risk investment and, therefore, have elected to part ways with the shares.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares of Xero and Computershare. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Computershare and Xero. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.