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S&P/ASX 200 to open lower Thursday: 12 shares to watch

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO)(ASX: XJO) is expected to open lower on Thursday, with shares of Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO), Evolution Mining Ltd (ASX: EVN) and Challenger Ltd (ASX: CGF) in focus.

Here’s a quick recap of global markets:

  • FTSE 100 (UK): down 0.5%
  • DAX (Germany): up 0.1%
  • CAC 40 (France): up 0.3%
  • Dow Jones (USA): down 0.6%
  • NASDAQ (USA): up 0.2%

In London, shares continued yesterday’s falls after the UK parliament agreed to a general election. The election is expected to help the government pass measures to exit the European Union. FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto rose 0.3% and 1.1%, respectively.

Across the pond, US markets ended slightly lower as oil prices fell more than 3%.

Closer to home, shares in focus will include Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL), Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) and Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) following a 3% fall in oil prices overnight.

New Zealand energy company Mighty River Power Ltd. (ASX: MCY) will also be in focus following an announcement in which it raised its full-year profit guidance.

Vocus Group Ltd (ASX: VOC) and TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPM) shares rose firmly yesterday following a week of heavy selling pressure. Investors will be closely watching the telecommunications sector to see if the recent share price rally is sustainable.

This morning, Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ASX: API) released its half yearly report showing a 25% rise in profit before tax.

Gold mining company Evolution Mining released its quarterly production report showing a reduction in costs and production of 202,926 ounces.

Rio Tinto also released its quarterly production report showing Pilbara iron ore production down 3% and copper output down 37%.

Sydney Airport Holdings Ltd (ASX: SYD) showed a 1.7% rise in monthly traffic performance.

Finally, Challenger updated the market revealing $66.6 billion of assets under management with its third quarter annuity sales up 53% year over year.

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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. You can follow him on Twitter @OwenRask.

The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Challenger Limited. 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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