S&P/ASX 200 to open higher: 16 companies to watch today

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is expected to open higher again today, extending on yesterday’s relief rally.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Dow Jones (USA): closed for holidays
  • NASDAQ (USA): closed for holidays
  • FTSE 100 (UK): up 2.04%
  • DAX (Germany): up 2.67%

The Sydney Futures Exchange is pointing to a 27-point rise today, following Monday’s 78-point gain which saw the ASX 200 rebound above 4,800 points.

The price of gold declined 2.3% to around US$1,209 an ounce as equity investor sentiment turned positive once again, potentially reflecting the market’s growing confidence that the sell-off has been overdone. Oil prices continued to rise, with Brent crude fetching nearly US$34 a barrel, while the iron ore price also jumped 6% to US$46.26 a tonne, according to The Metal Bulletin.

Shares of the iron ore producers such as BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP), Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) could all benefit from the jump in price today, although shares of all three did rise strongly during Monday’s session.

The market’s attention could also be focused on the nation’s biggest dividend-paying shares, including Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS), the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and each of its big-four bank brethren.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is due to release its latest meeting minutes which could shed some light on its intentions for the directions of monetary policy, which could make the dividends paid by these companies more or less attractive in the eyes of investors.

National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB) made the headlines after it reported a first-quarter cash profit of $1.7 billion, up 8% on the previous period. That could make investors take another look at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) shares as well.

Aside from the NAB, there will be a multitude of earnings reports from other companies for investors to stew over as well. Amongst the companies reporting are Orora Ltd (ASX: ORA), CSL Limited (ASX: CSL), Greencross Limited (ASX: GXL) and Pacific Brands Limited (ASX: PBG).

Other companies reporting their earnings results are Bradken Limited (ASX: BKN), Challenger Ltd (ASX: CGF) and InvoCare Limited (ASX: IVC), while Cover-More Group Ltd (ASX: CVO) also provided a trading update saying that sales had grown by 6.6% compared to the prior corresponding period.

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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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