BHP Billiton Limited shares crash 7.9% on Brexit vote

Credit: Lucas Walters

Shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) have been one of the hardest hit in the fallout from today’s Brexit vote.

A Brexit outcome is now considered a near certainty. The Leave campaign has 51.5% of the votes counted thus far, with the majority of votes already having been counted.

While the falls have been very widespread, hitting virtually every sector except gold, BHP Billiton has been hit particularly hard. Its shares are down 7.9% compared to the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) which is down 3.5%.

The anticipated outcome from the Brexit vote has had a drastic impact on commodity prices, with Brent oil falling below US$48 a barrel from almost US$51 a barrel earlier this morning. Investors are likely also cautious of the impact the decision could have on the iron ore price with uncertainty on the rise.

In relation to commodity prices, the fear likely relates to how global markets will respond to the Brexit vote. If Brexit impacts global growth, that could impact demand for commodities such as petroleum, coal and iron ore at a time where supply is sitting around record highs, therefore pushing their prices lower.

Notably, Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) shares have also fallen 7.8% and 8.8%, respectively. Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) and Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) have also dropped 3.5% and 8.3%, while Senex Energy Ltd (ASX: SXY) has plunged 11.2%.

It’s also important to realise that BHP does have a direct exposure to the UK and European economies, leaving it more vulnerable than the majority of other businesses listed on the ASX. Other companies with heavy exposure to the UK economy, including Henderson Group plc  (ASX: HGG) and Clydesdale Bank plc  (ASX: CYB) have also been hit hard today.

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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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