S&P/ASX 200 to open lower: 10 shares to watch

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

Here’s a recap:

  • Dow Jones (USA): down 0.64%
  • NASDAQ (USA): down 1.26%
  • FTSE 100 (UK): down 0.92%
  • DAX (Germany): down 0.88%
  • CAC 40 (France): down 0.86%

In Europe, mining shares were crunched after China released data showing a 24.5% fall in exports during February, in US dollar terms and a 13.8% decline in imports  – both worse-than-expected results. FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) fell 6.15% and 6.75%, respectively.

US markets also reacted negatively to the drop in China’s trade levels. Gold prices, often perceived as a hedge against uncertainty, rose to a yearly high of $US1,269.84 an ounce, according to the International Business Times. Shares in the energy and basic materials sectors fell 4% and 3.9%, respectively.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a 25-point, or 0.5%, fall in the S&P/ASX 200.

Shares of copper producers like Rio Tinto, Oz Minerals Limited (ASX: OZL) and Sandfire Resources Ltd (ASX: SFR) will be in focus following a price fall in the commodity overnight.

In company news, Gateway Lifestyle Group (ASX: GTY) announced the acquisition of six Manufactured Home Estates (MHEs) for a combined consideration of $49.3 million, excluding transactions costs.

It said it is also conducting due diligence on a further two MHEs (worth $9.5 million) and a further MHE asset for a purchase price of circa $23 million, excluding transaction costs. The company said it will undertake a $120 million capital raising to fund the acquisitions and repay debt.

Senex Energy Ltd (ASX: SXY) has locked in a $US45 per barrel hedge for 400,000 barrels of oil via a series of put options for the first half of its 2017 financial year.

Onthehouse Holdings Ltd (ASX: OTH) advises that the “Independent Board Committee” has received a revised, non-binding, conditional proposal to acquire 100% of its shares through a consortium of its two directors and a wholly-owned entity of Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG). The deal contemplates an all-cash consideration of $0.85 per share. The deal is subject to a number of conditions. The independent board is evaluating the proposal.

Finally, in broker news, Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) has been cut to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’ by analysts at UBS and Bell Potter analysts downgraded Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) to a ‘hold’ from ‘buy’, according to Dow Jones Newswires. Credit Suisse analysts also moved Fortescue shares to a ‘hold’ from a ‘buy’.

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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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