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5 things you need to know about the Australian sharemarket today

Welcome to Monday. 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 0.8% higher, following positive results on Wall Street on Friday.US markets gained with the Dow Jones rising 0.5%, the broader S&P 500 also added 0.5% and the tech-heavy NASDAQ climbed 0.2%. It was the fifth successive week of gains for the US benchmarks, and all-time highs, as signs the US economy is improving grow.

    News that China had cut interest rates for the first time in two years in a bid to boost growth, was also a key driver of US markets.

  2. US media giant Discovery Communications and pay-Tv operator Foxtel are reported to be be considering ramping up their offer for the struggling free-to-air broadcaster Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX: TEN).
    The Australian Financial Review reports that the bidders may consider a dual-class shareholder structure, to allow existing shareholders, including billionaire Bruce Gordon, to retain a stake in Ten.
  3. Giant miner BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) is expected to cut billions more in capital spending, with another US$1 billion cut from its 2016 budget. BHP is expected to spend just US$13 billion in the 2016 financial year.It’s not the only miner cutting expenditure either. BIS Shrapnel has today released a report predicting a 40% fall in mining investment over the next four years. Spending is not expected to stabilise until 2017. The economic forecaster says the current slump in mining investment has barely begun.

    Bad news for mining services companies indeed.

  4. Tweet of the Day


    And all the while executives from the uranium miner have paid themselves millions in salary and bonuses. Not exactly great stewards of shareholder capital, and one reason why Foolish investors would be wise to avoid Paladin Energy Ltd (ASX: PDN).

  5. Stock of the Day – brought to you by Andrew Mudie – Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG). Chairman Andrew Forrest has finally waded into the market to buy more shares in the beleaguered iron ore miner. Should investors follow? Andrew posts his thoughts here.

This could be an even better bet than Fortescue Metals, with lower risk.

The Motley Fool's top stock for 2015 is a sexy ASX tech company with a stunning track record and plenty of room to run. Discover our analysts' hands-down favourite bet for 2015 in this brand-new FREE report. Simply click here to grab your copy.

I already own the company, and you might want to consider it too.

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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