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Morning market movers: 10 post-budget stocks to watch

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Our market is expected to build on yesterday’s gain this morning despite falls in US and European equities overnight.

Traders are pricing in a 0.37% gain for the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) this morning although judging by recent trading patterns, it’s anyone’s guess where we will finish up at the end of the day.

The release of the “boring” federal budget is probably bolstering confidence. Boring is good when you compare it with the shock we got from the previous year’s proposed budget measures.

These abrupt U-turns for the ASX are not a good sign for our market as it’s increasing volatility for our market, and that typically means falling stock prices.

But firmer commodity prices should help add to the positive tone on the market.

Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) and Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) are likely to be supported by the 0.5% gain by the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil price to $US59.52 a barrel, while OZ Minerals Limited (ASX: OZL) and Sandfire Resources NL (ASX: SFR) will benefit from the 0.5% advance by copper to $US2.92 a pound.

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) is also likely to be in the spotlight after its chief executive commented that he expects iron ore prices to stay depressed over the medium, if not longer term, although the miner will counter that by aiming to cut its iron ore production cost to $US16 a tonne or lower.

In earnings news, cattle farmer Australian Agricultural Company Ltd (ASX: AAC) posted a 124.1% surge in net profit from ordinary activities to $45.9 million as sales increased 9.5% to $30 million for the year ended March 31.

Australia’s trade deal with Japan contributed to the profit increase.

Building materials company CSR Limited (ASX: CSR) should also enjoy further gains today following its full year result announcement yesterday. As I wrote, investors should buy into the result and BBY upgraded the stock by two notches to “buy” from “underperform”.

Elsewhere, advertising and marketing group STW Communications Group Ltd. (ASX: SGN) will be closely watched as it holds its annual general meeting. Shareholders will want to know about its restructure plans and how management plans to turnaround the group’s woeful performance.

Shares in Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) and fund manager BT Investment Management Ltd (ASX: BTT) are likely to give ground today as their shares trade without their dividend entitlements.

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Motley Fool contributor Brendon Lau owns shares of BHP Billiton Limited, STW Communications Group Ltd., and Woodside Petroleum Ltd.. Follow me on Twitter - https://twitter.com/brenlau

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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