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

Shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) have continued to rise today, lifting another 5.4% and adding billions of dollars back to the miner’s market value. The shares are now trading for $16.85, up from a recent low of just $14.06.

Although the miner’s shares came under intense pressure at the beginning of the year due to plummeting commodity prices, investors have begun to pile back into the shares more recently. To begin with, iron ore prices have remained steady around US$46 a tonne, according to The Metal Bulletin, while oil prices have rebounded strongly.

Indeed, the resource’s price surged almost 8% on Wednesday following an unexpected drop in crude inventories, which have been piling up as a result of growing production combined with waning demand. Meanwhile, there has also been talks between major oil producers to freeze output to support the resource’s price.

Brent crude oil rose 8.4% to US$34.88 a barrel, according to CNBC, while US crude prices also rose strongly, prompting some analysts to suggest that prices won’t fall below US$30 again.

Comments such as these saw huge support for shares in the energy sector, with Santos Ltd (ASX: STO), Sundance Energy Australia Ltd (ASX: SEA) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) all lifting 4.1%, 10.8% and 2.7%, as well.

While a deal is possible, investors should still approach the sector with caution. To begin with, a deal is by no means certain and, even if one is reached, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will ease the pressure on the world’s current stockpiles. One analyst interviewed by CNBC even went so far as to say “this (is) a selling opportunity.”

At the same time, other economists are suggesting the recent gains for the iron ore price may prove unsustainable, which could see the commodity’s price fall back below US$40 a tonne. As reported by The Australian Financial Review, Liberum Capital even thinks this could be an opportunity to short (that is, bet on the share price falling) both BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO).

Indeed, the gains recorded by BHP Billiton recently have certainly been encouraging for shareholders, but they shouldn’t necessarily act as a signal for potential investors to buy. There are still strong headwinds facing the entire sector and BHP isn’t in the clear just yet.

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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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