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

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

Here’s a recap:

  • Dow Jones (USA): up 0.69%
  • NASDAQ (USA): up 0.43%
  • FTSE 100 (UK): down 0.19%
  • DAX (Germany): up 0.59%
  • CAC 40 (France): down 0.44%

In Europe on Friday, markets ended mostly higher after expectations for another Eurozone interest rate cut bolstered markets. FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) ended 1.1% higher and 0.9% lower, respectively.

In the US, markets finished the week on a high following an accommodative Federal Reserve monetary policy decision. The healthcare and industrials sectors were among the best-performing.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a 29-point, or 0.5%, rise in the S&P/ASX 200.

Shares in focus will include Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (ASX: VAH). After closing down 12.5% on Friday, the leading airline operator this morning said it will undertake a comprehensive review of its balance sheet. “This review will ensure the Virgin Australia Group has an appropriate structure to sustain access to capital and improve cash flow generation and profitability,” the company’s announcement read.

As a first step, Virgin has secured a 12-month $425 million loan with its four major shareholders including Air New Zealand or AIR N.Z. FPO NZ (ASX: AIZ). The company said the loan will provide financial flexibility in the short term.

Meanwhile, Cimic Group Ltd (ASX: CIM), formally Leighton Holdings, announced it has been selected by GoldLinQ Pty Ltd as the preferred contractor to deliver stage two of the Gold Coast light rail project. The Queensland government has announced $420 million in funding for stage 2 of the project.

Vista Group International Ltd (ASX: VGL) will emerge from a trading halt today after the group successfully completed the sale of a 25.5% block of shares held by staff shareholders to a range of institutional and retail broking firms.

Finally, in broker news, analysts at Credit Suisse downgraded shares of Dulux Group Limited (ASX: DLX) to ‘underperform’ from ‘neutral’, and Deutsche Bank analysts raised their price target on shares of Premier Investments Limited (ASX: PMV) 25% to $14.25, 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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