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5 things you need to know about the Australian sharemarket today

Welcome to Tuesday. Here are the five things I’m looking at today on the Australian sharemarket.

  1. The S&P/ ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has opened up 0.2%, with the big miners and banks all in positive territory.Wall Street was virtually unchanged overnight, with both the Dow Jones and wider S&P 500 both closing flat. The tech-heavy NASDAQ fell 0.4%.
  2. Just when you thought everything was going swimmingly for Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (ASX: VAH) and Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN), Singapore-based low-cost carrier Scoot is expected to boost flights to existing Australian destinations, including the potential launch of flights to Melbourne next year.Scoot is owned by Singapore Airlines – which is a close partner, and also part owner of Virgin Australia. Qantas has already pulled out of the Perth-Singapore route, but Jetstar and Scoot both fly that route. Scoot will use wide body 777 or 787s on the route, offering passengers more seating room than Jetstar.Singapore-based Jetstar Asia made a loss of $40 million last financial year, reflecting the intense competition in the region among low-cost carriers. This latest move by Scoot is unlikely to help Qantas much.
  3. The institutional offer for shares in Medibank Private has opened today, closing on Thursday, with investors encouraged to make bids between the offer prices of $1.55 and $2.00. But with overwhelming retail and broker demand, it’s hard to see many institutions offering to buy shares for $1.55. In the grey market, IG Markets have Medibank shares trading at $2.15, suggesting that if institutions want any piece of Medibank, only bids at the higher end will likely be successful.
  4. Tweet of the Day

    Oil prices have dropped 30% since June, and OPEC appears likely to initiate a cut in output, to stabilise prices and perhaps drive the price back up to US$100 a barrel.

  5. Stock of the Day – brought to you by Regan Pearson – is actually 3 Australian oil and gas companies. With the oil price smashed, smaller oil producers have seen their share prices tank. A number of them could be under the watchful eyes of the big players. Find out which ones here.

While mining services, iron ore, coal, gold and oil companies are getting smashed from pillar to post, there's a 'hidden' set of resources stocks the market is simply overlooking. Discover the names and codes of these 3 surprising ASX plays now in The Motley Fool's brand-new FREE report. Simply click here for your free copy now.

Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

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