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Morning market movers: 13 stocks to watch

There’s little reason for optimism today as our market will be weighed down by overnight losses on US and European stock exchanges and big falls in commodity prices.

The futures market is forecasting a 0.1% dip for the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) this morning, which is really a good outcome considering there are no obvious positive leads for Australian equities although our market did suffer a bigger than expected 1.6% drop yesterday.

But don’t count on resource stocks to help hold the market’s head above water. That’s certainly true for gold miners like Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) and Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) as the gold price fell for the tenth consecutive session in what is the worst slide for the precious metal since 1996.

Gold shed 1.1% to $US1,091.50 an ounce and some analysts believe it could soon break below $1,000, but Newcrest will be in focus for another reason as it is expected to hand down its quarterly production result.

There will be no joy for oil stocks like Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) and Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) either as the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil price tanked close to 2% to $US49.25 a barrel. The silver lining for oil is that analysts are more constructive on its outlook and believe oil will rebound in the shorter term.

Mining giant BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) won’t be able to escape the uncomfortable glare of the spotlight following the release of its quarterly result yesterday. BHP produced more iron ore than expected and that is weighing on the price of the commodity, which fell by the most in two weeks as it shed 0.7% to $US51.76 a tonne.

BHP’s share price could come under more pressure as its London-listed stock slumped 5.7% in overnight trade on worries that the miner will have to take more writedowns in 2016.

All eyes will be on fellow iron ore miners Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) and BC Iron Limited (ASX: BCI) as they are expected to release their quarterlies today, along with oil & gas company Drillsearch Energy Limited (ASX: DLS) and gold miner Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG).

On the earnings front, construction engineering company Cimic Group Ltd (ASX: CIM) will report its first half result and investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) has issued a trading update at its annual general meeting (AGM) stating that profits for the current financial year will be ahead of the previous year and that it can easily meet new capital adequacy rules set by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

Other stocks to watch include stem cell treatment developer Mesoblast Limited (ASX: MSB) as it released its Phase 2 trial results for type 2 diabetes, salary packaging firm McMillan Shakespeare Limited (ASX: MMS) after it announced the $42 million acquisition of United Financial Services and electric utility AusNet Services (ASX: AST) as it holds its AGM.

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Motley Fool contributor Brendon Lau owns shares of BHP Billiton Limited 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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