4. BHP Billiton ( BHP), a diversified natural resources company, operates in nine customer sector groups: petroleum, aluminium, base metals (including uranium), diamonds and specialty products, stainless steel materials, iron ore, manganese, metallurgical coal and energy coal.

For fiscal year ended Jun. 30, 2011, the company recorded revenue of $71.7 billion, an increase of 35.9% from the previous year. Profit attributable to the group escalated 85.9% to $23.6 billion for the same period. Net operating cash flow surged 78.1% to $30.1 billion for the year. During fiscal 2011, BHP approved 11 major projects for a total investment commitment of $12.9 billion.

The company has completed its acquisition of Petrohawk Energy for $12.1 billion through a short-form merger of its wholly owned subsidiary with and into Petrohawk, under the Delaware law. The deal was closed with Petrohawk being the surviving entity. The company believes that with this transaction, BHP Billiton Petroleum is on track to deliver compound annual growth of 10% in production volumes for the remainder of the decade.

BHP's balance sheet has capacity for opportunistic mergers and acquisitions and may target copper, energy and potash, chief executive Marius Kloppers said, adding that the company may expand in shale gas outside the U.S. following the Petrohawk deal. The company will pay dividend of 55 cents per share on Sep. 29, 2011, vs. 45 cents in the year-ago period.

Of the three analysts covering the stock, 67% recommend a buy and the rest rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Data from Bloomberg has analysts forecasting the stock gaining 26.3% to $104.40 in the upcoming 12 months.

If you liked this article you might like

SEC Fight Against Big Money Enters Darkness: Street Whispers

Ivanhoe Mines Stock Hits New 52-Week Low (IVN)

Ivanhoe Mines Ltd (IVN): Today's Featured Metals & Mining Loser

7 Stocks Fall to 52-Week Lows

Ivanhoe Mines Stock Hits New 52-Week Low (IVN)