BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) Stock Upgraded at Macquarie

Analysts at Macquarie upgraded shares of BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) from Neutral to Outperform today.With a rating of Outperform on the shares, the company has a 52-week high of $38.10. As a means of comparison, a number of other analysts have spoken on the company recently, and BHP Billiton Ltd. has secured a consensus one-year price target of $30.58, a decrease compared to the opening price of $31.07, a difference of 9.86 percent. Usually, after analysts issue an upgrade report on a stock, they will later issue sporadic revisions, often followed by a price target change.

U.S. stocks on Monday closed essentially flat, after trading firmly higher, in a volatile session ahead of the start of a pair of closely watched central-bank policy meetings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.02% closed down 3.63 points at 18,120.17.

The blue-chip index had been up by as much as 131 points earlier and traded within a 162-point range.

The S&P 500 SPX, +0.00% slipped 0.04 points to close at 2,139.12, after trading within an 18-point range

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.18% declined 9.54 points, or 0.2%, to close at 5,235.03.

Earlier, the index had been up by as many as 37 points and traded with a 58-point range

Shares of BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) opened at $31.07 yesterday and traded in a range between, $30.83 and $31.16, and last traded at $31.02, a jump of $0.53 over the previous closing price.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) now has a market cap of 82.54B.

1,173,489 shares crossed the trading desk yesterday, 69 percent lower than the average, out of a total float 1,602,454,000. Swing traders often use swings in trading volume to determine substantial volume growth or circulation by institutional investors, so trading volume is likely to increase in the next few days.

However, one day of high volume buy side trading is not enough to affirm a trend. As such, market traders will continue to look for institutional sponsorship as a cue that financial institutions are moving forward.

Institutional sponsorship is defined by ownership of a stock by mutual funds, banks, pension funds and other large institutions.

Institutional investors such as these have teams of analysts researching thousands of stocks, so it is good validation to see them taking a postion in a stock you are researching.

By tracking the activity of these professional investors—and the moving averages they affect— traders are able to make make the best trades.

Trades for BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) have ranged from $18.46 – 38.10, and the stock now has a 50-day MA of $31.03 and 200-day MA of $28.74. Today’s last price is 0.19% below the 52 week high of $38.10.

Earnings growth is a crucial factor to consider when investing in stocks and investors seek companies that have grown their earnings at least 25% or more over a 3 year period.

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