S&P/ASX 200 to open higher: 6 shares to watch

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

Here’s a recap:

  • Dow Jones (USA): up 0.20%
  • NASDAQ (USA): up 0.29%
  • FTSE 100 (UK): down 0.09%
  • DAX (Germany): up 0.61%
  • CAC 40 (France): up 0.41%

In Europe, markets closed mostly flat despite a surge in mining and financial shares. FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) closed 5.36% and 2.82% higher, respectively.

In the US, markets overlooked government data which pointed to a rise in excess oil inventories, instead focusing on a fall in monthly oil production between April and December 2015. US Crude oil prices rallied 1.37%.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a 25 point, or 0.5%, rise in the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO).

Shares in focus will include Slater & Gordon Limited (ASX: SGH). The embattled law firm has seen its share price fall 62% in the past five days.

This morning BHP Billiton announced that it had reached an agreement with Brazilian authorities for the restoration of the environment and communities affected by the Samarco dam wall failure on 5 November 2015.

The 15-year agreement will fund a foundation with approximately $US1.1 billion between now and 2018 before decreasing to between $US200 million and $US400 million annually between 2019 and 2021.

In broker news, Credit Suisse analysts raised their NIB Holdings Limited (ASX: NHF) price target 11% to $3.90, Deutsche Bank analysts cut their Tabcorp Holdings Limited (ASX: TAH) price target 3.2% to $4.55, and Bell Potter analysts upgraded Bega Cheese Ltd (ASX: BGA) from hold to buy with a $6.69 price target, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

The Fool's top ASX stock for 2016

Our expert analysts recently hand-picked their top technology stock idea for 2016. And it's easy to see why: It has a big dividend yield, is growing rapidly and has heaps of cash on its balance sheet. Best of all: their top stock pick of 2016 is yours free! Just click here, enter your email address, and we'll send you their research report. No credit card details or payment required.

Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares of Slater & Gordon and NIB Holdings. 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.

Two New Stock Picks Every Month!

Not to alarm you, but you’re about to miss a very important event! Chief Investment Advisor Scott Phillips and his team at Motley Fool Share Advisor are about to reveal their latest official stock recommendation. The premium “buy alert” will be unveiled to members and you can be among the first to act on the tip.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by – this is your chance to get in early!

Simply enter your email now to find out how you can get instant access.

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.