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Market Extra: Miners roll out huge losses — but their shares are still rallying. Why?

Slumping metals prices have really started to bite at the world’s largest mining companies, going by corporate updates Tuesday. But investors are finding something to cheer in hefty cost savings and better-than-expected earnings, and that has sent commodity shares sharply higher.

BHP Billiton PLC BLT, +2.40%BHP, +0.74%BHP, +0.45% the world’s No.1 miner by market value, reported its worst-ever annual loss and cut its final dividend by 77%. That highlights just how much the industry is struggling with weak demand and stubbornly low commodity prices.

At the same time, Chilean copper producer Antofagasta PLC ANTO, +5.54% reported a slide in first-half profit and revenue.

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