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BHP Billiton Limited (BHP) reported net profits rose 41% to $6.2 billion for the recently ended half year, leading shares to rise nearly 6% on the Australian Stock Exchange.bhp That gain in profits was up from $4.36 billion in the year-ago period. Steadily rising commodity prices bolstered by strong production results for most mineral commodities, led the company to its seventh successive record fiscal half-year period. The company says future profits should continue to rise as Chinese demand for mineral metals continues to soar. BHP announced a surprise $10 billion share buyback yesterday; BHP also announced CEO Chip Goodyear will retire by the end of 2007. U.S. ADR shares of BHP are trading higher by $1.99 (4.77%) to $43.70 in pre-market trading.

Sources: Bloomberg, MarketWatch, MarketWatch II, Financial Times
Commentary: Will Another Iron-ore Price Hike Stop Surging Steel Stocks?, Australia: On the Uranium Radar, Investing in Molybdenum
Stocks/ETFs to watch: BHP Billiton Limited (BHP). Competitors: Rio Tinto plc (RTP), Anglo American (AAUK), Alcoa Inc. (AA)

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Source: BHP Billiton: Another Earnings Report, Another Record; Shares Climbing