Morning market movers: 11 stocks to watch today

The local stock market is tipped to open flat this morning, despite receiving a positive lead from Wall Street on Friday night.

The Dow Jones and NASDAQ indices rose 0.5% and 0.6% to end last week, boosted by healthcare and technology stocks, as investors begin to look beyond an interest rate hike that will almost certainly come in December.

The Sydney Futures Exchange, by comparison, is pointing to a 5 point or 0.1% decline when the market opens, following what was its third best week of 2015 last week.

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) will be in focus again today after the commodity slipped below US$45 a tonne for the first time since July. A falling iron ore price is bad news for the miners who rely on stronger commodity prices to achieve earnings growth.

Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) could also come under further pressure, after its shares fell more than 8% last week. The stock is still trading well above its 52-week low but if the iron ore price continues to fall, that mightn’t last for long.

On the other hand, investors will be looking for further support from the Big Four banks, including Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), which has rocketed in recent weeks.

Investors are clearly taking advantage of its low share price, although they may also be overlooking some key headwinds which could hinder the bank’s earnings growth in the years to come.

In company specific news, Veda Group Ltd (ASX: VED) will recommend shareholders accept a bid worth $2.825 per share from Equifax – 5% above Friday’s closing price – while investors will continue to ponder a takeover approach for Ozforex Group Ltd (ASX: OFX), which listed on the ASX at around the same time.

Investors should also look for updates from both FlexiGroup Limited (ASX: FXL) and Healthscope Ltd (ASX: HSO), with both companies due to hold their annual general meetings today. Both stocks have endured shaky performances so far in 2015 and investors will be looking for reasons to stay optimistic.

Meanwhile, one director from A2 MILK FPO NZ (ASX: A2M) has acquired 50,000 new shares which could give investors more confidence in the dairy producer, while investors will also respond to earnings updates from Metro Performance Glass Ltd (ASX: MPP) and Evolve Education Group Ltd (ASX: EVO).

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

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