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Why these 4 ASX shares are getting crushed today

Credit: Frédéric BISSON

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has pared back some of its earlier losses but is still trading roughly 0.5% lower around lunchtime following a horror night for commodity markets.

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) has been one of the casualties today, its share price slipping just over 2% to $18.37. Indeed, BHP Billiton’s share price has been under enormous pressure recently in response to the disaster at one of its mines in Brazil, together with speculation the miner will be forced to cut its dividend. Today’s falls however are most likely related to heavy falls in iron ore and oil overnight with the pair losing 2.6% and 4.2%, respectively.

Northern Star Resources Ltd’s (ASX: NST) share price has fallen 4.4% and the shares are now trading at $2.39, down from a 52-week high of $3.26 in October. The gold price fell 1.3% overnight to US$1,055 an ounce, near its lowest price in six years, based on expectations the US Federal Reserve will hike interest rates this month.

Slater & Gordon Limited (ASX: SGH) shares have lost 3.2% to trade at $1.225 today. The legal eagle’s share price has rebounded strongly over the last few sessions after hitting a low of just 59.5 cents on Friday. Although the company has reiterated its earnings guidance, analysts and investors alike remain uncertain what to think after changes to personal injury laws in the United Kingdom were proposed last week. Although the shares remain well below their recent high levels of around $3 per share, they remain highly risky, in my opinion.

Healthscope Ltd’s (ASX: HSO) share price has fallen 3.6% today, the shares now trading for just under $2.55 each. Healthscope’s share price has also come under heavy selling pressure in recent weeks, particularly since private equity firms TPG and Carlyle sold their remaining shares in the business. Furthermore, Credit Suisse also named Healthscope as a company to be wary of in 2016, according to The Australian Financial Review, which could be having an impact on investor sentiment towards the company.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.

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