Why BHP Billiton Limited is among 4 shares falling today

The S&P / ASX200 (ASX: XJO is 0.6% lower today as investors continue to worry about the possibility of the United Kingdom failing to agree a Brexit deal with the EU and the failure to find a resolution to the trade disputes between the US and China.

As a result of the growing trade tensions globally, commodity prices are falling which is putting some of the ASX’s biggest companies in the red today. Let’s take a look at the price action.

The Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) share price is down 2% to $31.40 as WTI Crude and Brent oil futures tanked in last Friday’s trading session. US President Trump continues to demand a lower oil price on a regular basis as pressure comes on the Saudis to help achieve the President’s demands. As a producer of oil and gas Woodside’s fortunes are directly tied to oil prices that are now down around 26% in just the past 3 months.

The BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) share price is down 2.9% to $30.65 as it also comes under pressure due to the tumbling oil and iron ore prices. BHP is a major producer of iron ore, with prices falling through November as Chinese demand for the key steel-making ingredient weakens potentially as a result of its economy slowing on the back of import tariffs imposed by the US.

The Breville Group Ltd (ASX: BRG) share price is down 3.3% to $10.86 today after the kitchen appliance maker reportedly got cut to a “sell” rating by analysts at investment bank UBS. Breville shares are now down 21% since August despite the group posting mid-single-digit profit, earnings per share, and dividend growth in FY 2018. UBS may be concerned by the outlook for discretionary consumer spending in Australia given the backdrop of falling house prices.

The Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) share price is down 3% to $74.56 today probably on the back of falling iron ore prices, as the company has released no news to the market since completing its $2.87 billion share buyback in November. Rio is leveraged to the iron ore price, although it also produces copper, aluminium and bauxite. The copper price is often considered a proxy for global or Chinese growth and if that slips on the back of an escalation in the US / China trade war Rio shares could fall further.

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