S&P/ASX 200 to open higher: 9 shares to watch

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

Here’s a recap:

  • Dow Jones (USA): up 0.47%
  • NASDAQ (USA): up 0.47%
  • FTSE 100 (UK): up 1.59%
  • DAX (Germany): up 1.6%
  • CAC 40 (France): up 1.8%

In Europe, markets closed firmly higher following the US Federal Reserve’s decision to keep interest rates on hold and cautioned over raising interest rates too quickly.

London’s FTSE-100 closed at its highest point since the beginning of 2016, with resources shares flying higher. FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: RIO) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) closed 5.8% and 5.5% higher, respectively.

In the US, the Dow Jones and NASDAQ both saw gains following the Fed’s comments. The energy and technology sectors were the best-performing.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a 42-point, or 0.8%, rise in the S&P/ASX 200.

Shares in focus will include Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (ASX: VAH). Yesterday, shares in the airline operator swooned after Air New Zealand Limited (ASX: AIZ) revealed it may sell its near 26% stake in the company to review alternate uses of its capital.

Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) announced it entered a landmark 15-year power purchase agreement for 100% of the renewable energy from the Moree Solar Farm, recently commissioned by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures. Here’s hoping for more of the same.

Western Areas Ltd (ASX: WSA) and DUET Group (ASX: DUE) shares have been placed in a trading halt as they seek to undertake capital raisings.

Macmahon Holdings Limited (ASX: MAH) announced that employees from a project in Nigeria have gone on strike over a dispute regarding project redundancy payments. Macmahon said it has commenced legal action as part of efforts to resolve the dispute.

Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) released its February travel statistics, showing a 6.2% and 7.5% increase in domestic passengers for Qantas and Jetstar, respectively. Passengers in Jetstar international climbed 27.4% year-over-year while Qantas international reported an 11.3% increase in passengers carried.

Finally, in broker news, analysts at Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) raised their price target on Ardent Leisure Group (ASX: AAD) 23% to $2.27, while Deutsche Bank analysts increased their price target on Primary Health Care Limited (ASX: PRY) shares 36% to $3.75.

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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 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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