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S&P/ASX 200 to open lower: 7 shares to watch

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is expected to trade lower today following mixed leads from international markets overnight.

Here’s a recap:

  • Dow Jones (USA): down 0.23%
  • NASDAQ (USA): up 0.27%
  • FTSE 100 (UK): up 0.13%
  • DAX (Germany): up 0.42%
  • CAC 40 (France): up 0.09%

In Europe, markets ended slightly higher despite concerns out of Brussels, expectations of a Brexit (Britain exiting the Eurozone) and mixed economic data from Germany. FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) closed 0.3% and 1.5% lower.

In the US, markets also put in a mixed performance. The healthcare and technology sectors were the best-performing while companies in the consumer staples sector weighed on markets.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a seven-point, or 0.1%, fall in the S&P/ASX 200.

Shares in focus will include Brickworks Limited (ASX: BKW). The building company today reported a 3% rise in first-half revenue and a profit increase of 19.4%. The company’s Building Products and Property businesses helped the company lift profit.

Programmed Maintenance Services Limited (ASX: PRG) said it secured a $1.5 billion maintenance contract as the successful bidder for a Western Australian Government Maintenance Services Arrangement. The contract is expected to generate between $90 million and $120 million in revenue per year.

FONTERRA ORD UNIT (ASX: FSF) will also be in focus after the dairy co-operative reported a 9.3% fall in revenue and a profit of $409 million for the half-year period ended 31 January 2016.

Agricultural business Nufarm Limited (ASX: NUF) reported a 0.3% increase in half-year group revenue to $1.19 billion and a net loss of $91 million. Nufarm said it incurred one-off costs of $102.9 million, which resulted in the net loss.

FSA Group Ltd (ASX: FSA) announced it renewed its $250 million non-recourse home loan facility with Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) until 15 October 2017.

Finally, in broker news, Bell Potter analysts cut their price target on shares of Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (ASX: VAH) 11% to $0.42, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any company mentioned. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

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 has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.

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