Why the BHP Billiton Limited share price is jumping today

Credit: Lucas Walters

It’s been a topsy-turvy day for the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO), but there is one company in particular that has managed to stay strong.

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) shares have continued to rise today, despite the ongoing concerns regarding the future for iron ore prices. The shares have risen 2.8% to trade at $19.42, after also rising 2.8% on Wednesday.

The most likely reason for BHP’s strong gain today is the rise in oil prices. Brent oil has officially cracked the US$50 per barrel mark after slipping below US$30 earlier in the year, while US crude oil is hovering marginally below the US$50 a barrel mark as well. It’s the highest price oil has traded at in months.

Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) and Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) shares are also rallying, up 1.6% and 4.7%, while Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) has gained 3%.

It seems those gains in the oil price have come as a result of a drop in supply, which will help ease the glut in the market. In saying that, some of this may have been caused by temporary factors such as maintenance or weather which could cause a rise in supply again in the near future.

Still, economists are becoming more confident that oil may have finally turned a corner. According to The Australian Financial Review, Citigroup and JPMorgan have both lifted their price forecasts recently, although the average price for the year is still expected to be below the resource’s current price.

BHP’s other major commodity, iron ore, isn’t faring quite as well as oil. Although the commodity remains well above its low levels from late last year at US$50.41 a tonne, according to The Metal Bulletin, it is forecast to fall sharply in the latter half of this year. That could have a negative effect on BHP and other miners in the sector including Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG).

Of course, BHP’s shares could go either way from here. But to me, the risks outweigh the potential gains at their current price.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. 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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