S&P/ASX 200 to open flat: 8 shares to watch

Credit: Cimexus

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AJXO) (ASX: XJO) is expected to trade flat following mixed leads from international markets overnight.

Here’s a recap:

Dow Jones (USA): down 0.1%
NASDAQ (USA): up 0.14%
FTSE 100 (UK): down 0.39%
DAX (Germany): down 0.41%
EURO STOXX 50 (Europe): down 0.8%

In the US, falls in oil prices offset some positive sentiment spurred by earnings reports. In Europe, markets tread water and finished modestly lower, despite iron ore prices rising sharply. FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) rose 0.1% and fell 1.1%, respectively.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a flat open for the S&P/ASX 200.

In company-specific news, BHP Billiton will be in key focus after credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s said it has lowered its credit rating from A+ to A. Also, it’s been placed on ‘CreditWatch with negative implications’ pending the release of its half-year results for the period ended 31 December 2015. That could mean the mining giant will be forced to scrap its ‘progressive’ dividend policy to maintain a strong balance sheet.

Fletcher Building Limited (Australia) (ASX: FBU) announced it will acquire road construction and maintenance business, Higgins Group Holdings Limited for NZ$315 million. Meanwhile, software developer Altium Limited (ASX: ALU) has signed an OEM agreement with Dassault Systemes to bring together Altium’s printed circuit board technology with SOLIDWORKS.

Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd. (ASX: DMP) announced the completion of its acquisition of Joey’s Pizza. Computershare Limited (ASX: CPU) has been appointed preferred supplier in the UK Asset Resolution Limited tender process.

Navitas Limited (ASX: NVT) delivered its half-year report to the market showing an 8% rise in revenue and 43% jump in profit after tax.

Finally, in broker news, Macquarie analysts cut the News Corp (ASX: NWS) price target 3.5% to $24.25 per share, while analysts at Deutsche Bank raised their Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC) share price target 6.3% to $67, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares of Computershare. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

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 owns shares of Altium and Computershare. 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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