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Here’s why BHP Billiton Limited deserves your attention today

Although shares in BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) have risen 26c or 0.7% today, they are still sitting 4.8% below their price at the beginning of the year. In comparison, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has risen 1%.

While there could certainly be more volatility experienced in the near-term, there are a number of reasons investors should remain hopeful for the long-haul. For starters, it is far more diversified than any other company in the mining sector, such as Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG), and hence presents as a safer bet for your money.

I am also attracted to its exposure to the coal and potash markets. Demand for both resources is tipped to soar over the coming decades due to the rising global population, while the miner is also focused on reducing costs and increasing productivity to improve margins.

Another reason to like the miner is that these low commodity prices could certainly force competitors out of the market, which would give BHP an even greater share of the market.

Trading at $36.16 and on a projected P/E ratio of 12.6, BHP Billiton also offers a generous 3.5% fully franked dividend. This is a stock well worthy of a place at the top of your watchlist.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.

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