S&P/ASX 200 to open lower: 7 shares to watch

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

Here’s a recap:

  • Dow Jones (USA): down 0.23%
  • NASDAQ (USA): up 0.27%
  • FTSE 100 (UK): up 0.13%
  • DAX (Germany): up 0.42%
  • CAC 40 (France): up 0.09%

In Europe, markets ended slightly higher despite concerns out of Brussels, expectations of a Brexit (Britain exiting the Eurozone) and mixed economic data from Germany. FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) closed 0.3% and 1.5% lower.

In the US, markets also put in a mixed performance. The healthcare and technology sectors were the best-performing while companies in the consumer staples sector weighed on markets.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a seven-point, or 0.1%, fall in the S&P/ASX 200.

Shares in focus will include Brickworks Limited (ASX: BKW). The building company today reported a 3% rise in first-half revenue and a profit increase of 19.4%. The company’s Building Products and Property businesses helped the company lift profit.

Programmed Maintenance Services Limited (ASX: PRG) said it secured a $1.5 billion maintenance contract as the successful bidder for a Western Australian Government Maintenance Services Arrangement. The contract is expected to generate between $90 million and $120 million in revenue per year.

FONTERRA ORD UNIT (ASX: FSF) will also be in focus after the dairy co-operative reported a 9.3% fall in revenue and a profit of $409 million for the half-year period ended 31 January 2016.

Agricultural business Nufarm Limited (ASX: NUF) reported a 0.3% increase in half-year group revenue to $1.19 billion and a net loss of $91 million. Nufarm said it incurred one-off costs of $102.9 million, which resulted in the net loss.

FSA Group Ltd (ASX: FSA) announced it renewed its $250 million non-recourse home loan facility with Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) until 15 October 2017.

Finally, in broker news, Bell Potter analysts cut their price target on shares of Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (ASX: VAH) 11% to $0.42, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

I can't believe this

The Motley Fool's expert analysts recently hand-picked their top technology stock idea for 2016. And it's easy to see why: It has a big dividend yield, is growing rapidly and has heaps of cash on its balance sheet. Best of all: their top stock pick of 2016 is yours free! Just click here, enter your email address, and we'll send you their research report. No credit card details or payment required.

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.

Two New Stock Picks Every Month!

Not to alarm you, but you’re about to miss a very important event! Chief Investment Advisor Scott Phillips and his team at Motley Fool Share Advisor are about to reveal their latest official stock recommendation. The premium “buy alert” will be unveiled to members and you can be among the first to act on the tip.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by – this is your chance to get in early!

Simply enter your email now to find out how you can get instant access.

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.