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

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

Here’s a recap:

  • Dow Jones (USA): up 0.13%
  • NASDAQ (USA): down 0.45%
  • FTSE 100 (UK): down 0.56%
  • DAX (Germany): down 0.56%
  • CAC 40 (France): down 0.75%

In Europe, markets were weighed down by commodity prices and energy shares. FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) fell 6.5% and 4.3%, respectively.

US markets also put in a mixed performance ahead of the Federal Reserve’s meeting on Wednesday. Twitter Inc shares fell 5.5% while Apple Inc shares closed up 2%. The healthcare and resources sectors were the worst performing.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a 6-point fall in the S&P/ASX 200.

Shares in focus will include iron ore miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG). Overnight, the iron ore price slumped 4.8%, according to Fairfax Media.

Meanwhile, shares of oil and gas producers may also come under pressure following a 2.6% fall in the Brent Crude oil price overnight. The share prices of Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL), Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) and Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) have been buoyed by recent rises in the oil price. Shareholders will be hoping for more of the same.

Shares of Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) will also be in focus. This morning, the telco giant announced the appointment of Kevin Russell as Group Executive Telstra Retail. Mr Russell has held a number of senior positions in the industry, including at SingTel Optus and Hutchison Whampoa Group. He’ll step into the role next month.

Finally, Air New Zealand, or AIR N.Z. FPO NZ (ASX: AIZ), announced a 9% rise in passengers carried and a revenue passenger kilometre rise of 10.3% during the month of February.

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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.

The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Apple and Twitter. 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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