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BHP Billiton down despite record result


Investors are punishing BHP Billiton stocks as well as shares in other major miners despite Wednesday's production results being seen as positive.

BHP delivered a 12th consecutive record result in annual iron ore production for the year to June 2012.

Iron ore production increased by 15 per cent to a record 40.89 million tonnes in the three months to June and by 19 per cent to 159.5 million tonnes for the year.

However the company's stocks were 59 cents, or 1.92 per cent, down to $30.20 shortly before noon.

Rio Tinto was even worse off, down by 3.1 per cent while Fortescue Metals were 3.3 per cent lower after it flagged having to increase capital expenditure on Tuesday.

OptionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said the unwillingness of resources companies to pay decent dividends meant investors appeared unwilling to hold their stocks.

That combined with negative outlooks about the global economy, including a weak European economy and slowing Chinese growth were outweighing positive performances by the miners.

"It's an interesting share price reaction, the dividend yield play in terms of banking and the financial sector is alive and well at the cost of holding reassures and materials stocks," he told AAP.

"I can't see any downgrade in terms of earning guidance from any of these brokers on the back of production numbers and they are still effectively selling everything they're digging out of the ground.

"But you could probably point to the cautious outlook in terms of commentary reinforcing investors fears at the moment about Europe and a slowing China."

All of the major iron ore miners are heavily invested in expanding their Pilbara iron ore operations in WA, with BHP on Wednesday flagging a five per cent rise in 2013 iron ore production after a bumper result for the June quarter.

BHP Billiton's quarterly production report shows iron ore shipments rose to a record annualised rate of 179 million tonnes in the June quarter.

However, BHP warned that its 2012 earnings would take a $US265 million ($A259.49 million) hit related to outstanding copper sales.

The consensus among analysts is for BHP to post a $US16.9 billion ($A16.45 billion) net profit compared to last year's Australian record $US23.6 billion ($A22.97 billion).