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 0.43%
  • NASDAQ (USA): up 0.75%
  • FTSE 100 (UK): up 0.58%
  • DAX (Germany): up 0.50%
  • CAC 40 (France): down 0.22%

In Europe, a lift in crude oil prices buoyed markets despite the UK government announcing its intention to introduce a tax on sugary drinks. Meanwhile, shares in the London Stock Exchange Group plc, which is due to merge with Germany’s Deutsche Boerse AG, closed higher after the two share exchange operators agreed to merger terms.

FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) closed up 0.4% and 1%, respectively.

In the US, markets rose following the Federal Reserve’s decision to keep interest rates on hold and raise rates more gradually than expected. The materials and energy sectors were the best performing.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a 36-point, or 0.7%, rise in the S&P/ASX 200.

Shares in focus will include high-yielding shares like Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) and banks like Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC). If the US Federal Reserve intends to put off raising interest rates, Australian interest rates have a higher chance of being cut as the RBA seeks to stimulate the economy. Thus, lower US rates could buoy our market’s highest-yielding blue-chip shares.

Shares of Myer Holdings Ltd (ASX: MYR) will also be in focus today. This morning, the department store operator announced its half-year results for the period ended 23 January 2016 revealing a 1.8% rise in revenue and 4% fall in profit.

Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) updated the market on production levels at its Kanowna Belle project. The gold miner believes the project’s production levels will rise around 50% following strong drilling results and cost cuts.

Aconex Ltd (ASX: ACX) shares have entered a trading halt pending an institutional share placement which it says will raise capital for an acquisition.

Finally, Surfstitch Group Ltd (ASX: SRF) announced the appointment of Lex Pedersen and Justin Stone as Joint CEOs and Managing Directors. Mr Pedersen has been president of SWELL and held a number of senior roles since co-founding Surfstitch while Mr Stone is the founder of Surfdome and currently Surfstitch’s European managing director.

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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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