Morning market movers: 10 stocks to watch

Credit: Lucas Walters

Following a terrible run last week, the local sharemarket is expected to open the day lower after some weak leads from international markets on Friday.

Last Friday the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) sunk to within touching distance of the psychological 5,000-point level before a slight rebound took shares back to 5,051 points at the close.

Friday’s losses took the ASX’s weekly fall to 3.1%. US and European shares fell 3.7% for the week.

Unfortunately, the Sydney Futures Exchange is pointing to another soft opening this morning, with the market expected to fall around 0.7% — below 5,000 points.

Investors will be watching shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) closely with news surfacing that Brazilian prosecutors will seek to permanently suspend BHP’s iron ore joint venture operation in the South American country, following a disastrous dam wall slide which left a town in ruin last fortnight. BHP shares have fall almost 20% in a month.

On Friday, speculation mounted that Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) may not be able to pay franked dividends in the future. However, the bank released an ASX announcement rebuffing the media article. However, shares remained under pressure and closed lower.

FONTERRA ORD UNIT (ASX: FSF), the ASX-listed version of New Zealand’s Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund, today forecast, “good operating performance” and strong earnings per share performance over the 2015/2016 year. It expects a Farmgate Milk Price of $4.60 per KgMS.

Tatts Group Limited (ASX: TTS) and Tabcorp Holdings Limited (ASX: TAH) will also be in focus today with the market expecting both companies to announce they’re in discussions for a potential merger of equals.

In other M&A news, Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) is believed to be considering taking another stab at Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH). According to Fairfax, Woodside may be mulling a strategic approach to its acquisition in which it buys the PNG government’s 10% stake in Oil Search before offering a full scrip takeover offer.

Rumours are also surfacing that Caledonia (Private) Investments will withdraw its $770 million takeover offer for Australian Leisure & Entrtmt Pty Mgt Ltd (ASX: LEP) (ALE Property Group). ALE Property Group owns Australia’s largest portfolio of pubs and is 25.8% owned by Caledonia.

Finally, walnut producer Webster Limited (ASX: WBA) shares have been slapped with a “buy” rating and $1.59 price target by analysts at Bell Potter. Meanwhile, Sims Metal Management Ltd (ASX: SGM) has been branded an “outperform” by analysts at Macquarie.

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Motley Fool contributor Owen Raskiewicz has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. 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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