Here’s why the BHP Billiton Limited share price surged 5.4% today

Credit: glyphwalker

Not even a US$7.2 billion writedown could hold down the share price of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) today, with the miner’s shares rocketing 5.4% higher to $15.68. That compares to a 1.6% jump for the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO).

In an announcement to the market this morning, BHP Billiton said the ongoing volatility and weakness in oil prices had led to an assessment of the value of its Onshore US asset values, resulting in an expected US$4.9 billion post-tax impairment charge.

An impairment was likely expected by investors based on the fact the miner’s shares had been trading below their book value in recent times.

Despite the writedown however, the shares exploded as soon as the market’s opening bell rang, soaring to a high of $15.75. The shares hit a new 10-year low of just $14.45 during yesterday’s session.

There were a number of factors playing in the miner’s favour today, including a 1.8% lift in the iron ore price to US$40.22, according to The Metal Bulletin, as well as an overnight bounce in oil prices. Brent crude jumped 2.7% to US$31.14 a barrel after recently slipping into the US$20s, while West Texas Intermediate crude also rose above US$31 a barrel.

While these movements helped spark something of a relief rally in the United States overnight, they also provided BHP’s London-listed shares with a sense of hope. The shares closed 6% higher after rising as much as 7.2% during the session.

Shares of Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) have also risen 3.4% higher, while Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) and South32 Ltd (ASX: S32) shares have gained 3.4% and 5.5%, respectively.

Although shares in the mining sector are climbing higher today; investors shouldn’t get too ahead of themselves. Commodity prices will inherently bounce around but most economists still expect iron ore and oil to fall in value over the coming months. That could put miners such as BHP under even greater pressure, with their share prices capable of falling even beneath their recent lows.

Motley Fool Pro is now open to new members

Our most comprehensive and innovative ASX investment service -- has reopened for a brief time, to accept new members. That means you've got the chance to follow along as one top investor puts $1,000,000 of The Motley Fool's own money to work...all in ASX stocks. But to get YOUR front-row seat, you must act NOW. (Please note: just 1,000 new member seats are available.)

Click here to claim YOUR invite!

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.

Two New Stock Picks Every Month!

Not to alarm you, but you’re about to miss a very important event! Chief Investment Advisor Scott Phillips and his team at Motley Fool Share Advisor are about to reveal their latest official stock recommendation. The premium “buy alert” will be unveiled to members and you can be among the first to act on the tip.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by – this is your chance to get in early!

Simply enter your email now to find out how you can get instant access.

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.