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The Australian market is likely to claw back some of yesterday’s losses, while a rise in offshore markets and higher oil prices buoy bullish sentiment.

Traders are expecting the S&P/ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) to jump 0.67% as oil stocks get a lift from the crude oil price and as corporate deals throw the spotlight on a handful of stocks.

However, whether the market can hold on to early gains today will also depend on the unemployment data that will be released at 11.30am as that will give further hints about the Reserve Bank of Australia’s interest rate intensions ahead of their May meeting.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil price benchmark chalked up its fifth straight day of gains to reach $US59.39 a barrel and the iron ore price held above $US50 a tonne even as the Metal Bulletin reported that the steel making ingredient eased 45 cents to $US50.33 per tonne.

In the energy sector, the attention will be on Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) as the oil & gas major holds its annual general meeting.

While the iron ore price is holding on to most of its recent gains, Goldman Sachs is the latest to join the downgrade party for iron ore stocks as it doesn’t think a rebound in iron ore can be sustained and has penciled in a $US45 a tonne long-term average price for the commodity.

The broker cut its recommendation on BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) to “neutral” and is now urging investors to sell Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG).

But iron ore producers aren’t the only ones in the downgrade firing line. Share registry services firm Computershare Limited (ASX: CPU) was cut to “hold” from a “buy” by Morningstar, while real estate company Dexus Property Group (ASX: DXS) suffered a similar downgrade by Credit Suisse.

If you were wondering why embattled engineering contractor UGL Limited (ASX: UGL) surged 6.8% to $1.50 yesterday, it is probably because the market caught wind of a possible takeover approach.

The Australian reports rivals are mulling a bid for the company with Downer EDI Limited (ASX: DOW) and Transfield Services Limited (ASX: TSE) singled out by the paper as the likely bidders.

Elsewhere, Bloomberg reports that document management company Recall Holdings Ltd (ASX: REC) is considering a $1.8 billion for North America-based Shred-it International Inc, while the Australian Financial Review says that Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd (ASX: NEC) is said to be close to selling its online ticketing business Ticketek to Affinity Partners Equity for $640 million.

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Motley Fool contributor Brendon Lau owns shares in Woodside Petroleum, BHP, Rio Tinto and Downer EDI. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Computershare. 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.