Analysts expect BHP profit drop

Lower commodity prices expected to weigh on miner's earnings.

BHP Billiton (BHP) is expected to post a fall in earnings largely due to lower commodity prices, particularly in iron ore and coal, which will more than offset higher volumes across most of its commodities.

Analysts are hoping for a clearer picture on the current operations and the outlook, as well as detail on cost cutting efforts (see Robert Gottliebsen's Making BHP more like CBA).

RBC Capital Markets says it expects an uneventful first full year results presentation from new chief executive Andrew Mackenzie, although he is likely to field questions on potential asset sales.

Macquarie says it suspects management will try to avoid being dragged into a detailed discussion on its proposed Jansen potash mine in Canada, which it says is a tough sell to investors in the current environment.

It would like to see clarity around spending levels for onshore US petroleum operations.

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