S&P/ASX 200 to open flat: 5 shares to watch

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

Here’s a recap:

  • Dow Jones (USA): down 0.74%
  • NASDAQ (USA): down 0.71%
  • FTSE 100 (UK): up 0.02%
  • DAX (Germany): down 0.19%
  • CAC 40 (France): up 0.9%

In Europe, markets ended marginally higher following a decision by China’s central bank to lower its bank reserve requirements to 17%. According to The Telegraph, it’s the fifth time in a little over a year that China has moved to cut reserve requirements in a bid to bolster its economy.

FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) finished 0.87% and 2.34% higher, respectively.

US markets spent some of Monday’s trade above break-even, but ended the day lower as technology giants such as Apple and Alphabet ended lower.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a 12 point, or 0.2%, fall in the S&P/ASX 200.

Shares of BHP Billiton will be in focus. Yesterday, credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s affirmed the miner’s rating as ‘A/A-1’ with a negative outlook. S&P said BHP’s decision to lower its dividend and capital expenditure program materially improves its financial flexibility.

Meanwhile, Orora Ltd (ASX: ORA) announced it had acquired retail display solutions provider, IntegraColor Ltd, for $107 million. The company said the deal is consistent with its North American growth strategy.

Slater & Gordon Limited (ASX: SGH) shares will also be in focus. Yesterday, the law firm revealed its half-year results to the market showing a loss of $958 million. Shares were heavily sold down.

Finally, following a busy reporting season, analysts at Goldman Sachs lowered their Super Retail Group Ltd (ASX: SUL) price target 18% to $8.80, while Morgan Stanley analysts raised their Vocus Communications Limited (ASX: VOC) price target 3.8% to $8.30, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares of Slater & Gordon, and has a financial interest in Vocus Communications. 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 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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