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

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

Here’s a recap:

  • Dow Jones (USA): up 0.40%
  • NASDAQ (USA): down 0.19%
  • FTSE 100 (UK): down 0.27%
  • DAX (Germany): down 0.46%
  • CAC 40 (France): down 0.32%

In Europe, markets ended lower despite a rise in commodity prices. Overnight, brent crude rose 4.4%, while iron ore surged 18.5% to $US63.74 a tonne. FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) finished up 2.6% and 3.2%, respectively.

In the United States, a 1.6% and 2.2% rally in the energy and materials sectors, respectively, wasn’t enough to offset a decline in the technology sector. Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc (formerly Google) both closed more than 2% lower.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a 32-point, or 0.6%, rise in the S&P/ASX 200.

Shares of BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto will be in focus. Also, shares of fellow iron ore producers such as Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) will be watched closed today following the rally in prices overnight. Yesterday, Fortescue’s share price rose an enormous 23%. This morning, it announced a memorandum of understanding with Brazil’s Vale SA to pursue long-term opportunities in China.

With oil futures up again overnight, energy shares like Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL), Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) and Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) could be worth watching closely.

In an announcement to the ASX, FONTERRA ORD UNIT (ASX: FSF) lowered its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2015/2016 season from $4.15 per kilogram milk solid to $3.90 per kilogram milk solid.

Finally, in broker news analysts at JPMorgan have cut their Mesoblast Limited (ASX: MSB) recommendation from overweight to neutral, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any company mentioned. 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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