Short Interest in BHP Billiton plc (BBL) Grows By 230.4%

BHP Billiton plc (NYSE:BBL) was the target of a large increase in short interest in January. As of January 31st, there was short interest totalling 3,219,211 shares, an increase of 230.4% from the January 12th total of 974,230 shares. Approximately 0.3% of the shares of the stock are short sold. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 1,914,639 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 1.7 days.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in BBL. Cheyne Capital Management UK LLP purchased a new position in BHP Billiton in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $1,068,000. Polaris Capital Management LLC grew its stake in BHP Billiton by 7.4% in the 4th quarter. Polaris Capital Management LLC now owns 4,557,788 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $183,679,000 after buying an additional 315,800 shares in the last quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio purchased a new position in BHP Billiton in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $8,956,000. Cambiar Investors LLC grew its stake in BHP Billiton by 4.3% in the 3rd quarter. Cambiar Investors LLC now owns 5,423,369 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $192,258,000 after buying an additional 222,160 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Maverick Capital Ltd. purchased a new position in BHP Billiton in the 4th quarter worth approximately $5,775,000. 4.41% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

BHP Billiton (NYSE:BBL) opened at $42.71 on Wednesday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.53, a current ratio of 1.85 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47. BHP Billiton has a 12 month low of $28.73 and a 12 month high of $45.30.

A number of equities analysts have commented on BBL shares. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of BHP Billiton from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $43.00 price target for the company in a research note on Tuesday, December 19th. Jefferies Group reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $40.00 price target on shares of BHP Billiton in a research note on Monday, January 8th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $45.00.

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About BHP Billiton

BHP Billiton Plc is a global resources company. The Company is a producer of various commodities, including iron ore, metallurgical coal, copper and uranium. Its segments include Petroleum, Copper, Iron Ore and Coal. The Petroleum segment is engaged in the exploration, development and production of oil and gas.

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