S&P/ASX 200 set to plunge: 10 shares to watch today

The S&P/ASX 200’s (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) long-awaited relief rally looks to have been short-lived with the Sydney Futures Exchange pointing to a very sharp decline when the market opens this morning.

In what was another horror night for equity markets around the globe, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 2.2%, while the tech-heavy NASDAQ index plunged 3.4%. The S&P 500 was down 2.5% at its lowest level since September and the ASX 200 looks set to follow suit. It’s expected to open 91 points or 1.8% lower.

The falls can at least partially be attributed to the falling oil prices, which one commodities researcher has even suggested could fall as low as US$10 a barrel. Brent crude slipped 1.5% overnight to just US$30.41 while iron ore also slipped below US$40 a tonne again after shedding 4.1%.

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) have already paid the price for crashing commodity prices this year, and could come under further pressure today. In saying that, the pair’s London-listed shares both rose overnight offering some hope to investors. Likewise, it could be another tough day for energy producers such as Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL), both of which have been crushed so far this year as well.

Elsewhere in the resources sector, investors in gold producers Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) and EVOLUTION FPO (ASX: EVN) will be hoping for an improvement today after their shares were hammered on Wednesday. The gold price fell for two consecutive sessions and is currently fetching US$1,093 an ounce.

Other shares that will be in focus today include Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES), which has made a conditional offer to acquire Homebase in the United Kingdom for nearly $700 million, as well as iSelect Ltd (ASX: ISU) whose CEO has recently purchased new shares in the business. That comes after a sharp fall in the group’s share price and could provide investors with a much needed boost of confidence.

Shareholders of Godfreys Group Ltd (ASX: GFY) will be hoping to pare back some of their losses today after the shares plunged 28% on Wednesday, while Spotless Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: SPO) shareholders will look for further gains after their shares soared 15%.

Regardless of what the sharemarket does today, remember that investing is about the long term and that any sharp sell-off could open up some fantastic buying opportunities. The most important thing however is that you keep your emotions in check and do not sell into the panic.

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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.

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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