The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AJXO) (ASX: XJO) is expected to trade higher following positive leads from US markets overnight.

Here’s a recap:

  • Dow Jones (USA): up 0.79%
  • NASDAQ (USA): up 0.86%
  • FTSE 100 (UK): down 0.98%
  • DAX (Germany): down 2.44%
  • EURO STOXX 50 (Europe): down 2.1%

In the US, shares of Facebook Inc and Amazon combined with gains in oil prices to take markets firmly higher. In Europe, markets suffered a kneejerk reaction to comments from the US Federal Reserve hinting economic growth slowed in the final days of 2015.

FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) closed 1.45% higher and 0.99% lower, respectively.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a 14-point, or 0.2%, rise in the S&P/ASX 200.

Shares in focus on our market today will include the major iron ore miners, such as Rio, BHP and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) following a decision by the world’s largest miner, Vale SA, to cut its 2016 dividend to zero. Despite exceptionally low break-even costs, plummeting iron ore prices have crippled the miner’s profit margins and forced it to reconsider paying a dividend to shareholders.

Shares of oil producers Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) and Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) will also be in focus following a third consecutive day of gains in commodity prices overnight.

An anxiously awaited report from law firm Shine Corporate Ltd (ASX: SHJ) will likely see its share price trade sharply lower today. This morning, Shine issued a detailed announcement revealing provisions totaling $17.5 million, a 50% cut in 2016 profit guidance, an additional $10.5 million impact from a ‘business update’ and a scrapping of its interim dividend. The share price reaction from its larger rival Slater & Gordon Limited (ASX: SGH) is far from certain, but significant volatility can be expected.

XERO FPO NZ (ASX: XRO), Freelancer Ltd (ASX: FLN) and Nanosonics Ltd. (ASX: NAN) issued quarterly reports today. While shares of Urbanise.com Ltd (ASX: UBN) entered a trading halt pending a capital raising.

In broker news, analysts at Morgans upped their price target on REA Group (ASX: REA) shares by 15% to $55.61, while Bell Potter analysts cut their Western Areas Ltd (ASX: WSA) price target 21% to $2.85, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares of Slater & Gordon and Xero Limited. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Amazon.com and Facebook. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Xero. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.