Will BHP shares beat the market in 2024?

Is 2024 going to be a good year for shareholders of the Big Australian?

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BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) shares have had a reasonably positive year so far.

Since the start of 2023, the mining giant's shares have risen approximately 2.5%.

While not great compared to historical market returns, it is worth highlighting that it is still ahead of the 0.5% gain by the ASX 200 index. There are also dividends to consider, let's not forget.

But that's 2023, what might things be like for BHP shares in 2024? Let's take a look and see what some analysts are predicting for the Big Australian.

BHP shares in 2024

Opinion remains largely divided on the miner's shares at current levels.

Some analysts believe its shares can rise from here, others believe they are fully valued now.

Over at Morgans, its analysts are in the bull camp. They currently have an add rating and a $50 price target on the company's shares.

This implies a potential upside of 7% from current levels. Combined with its expectation for a ~$2.87 per share fully franked dividend, this suggests a total 12-month return of 13% for investors.

It's a similar story over at Goldman Sachs. Its analysts have a buy rating and a $49.90 price target on its shares, which is almost 7% above where BHP's shares trade today. Goldman isn't as bullish on its dividend, though. It has pencilled in a ~$2.19 per share payout. This represents a 4.7% yield, lifting the total potential return to 11.5%.

Elsewhere, Citi and Morgan Stanley currently have the equivalent of neutral ratings on the miner's shares with price targets implying a 3% to 5% downside. After dividends, this would mean a roughly flat return for investors.

But it is worth remembering that a lot can happen in a short space of time in the mining sector. If commodity prices are higher than expected, BHP's profits and dividends could balloon and drive its shares notably higher. Conversely, a collapse in commodity prices could have the opposite effect on its earnings and share price performance.

Time will ultimately tell.

Citigroup is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Goldman Sachs Group. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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