S&P/ASX 200 set to open higher: 5 shares to watch today

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

Here’s a recap:

  • Dow Jones (USA): up 0.2%
  • NASDAQ (USA): up 0.05%
  • FTSE 100 (UK): up 1.1%
  • DAX (Germany): up 0.96%
  • CAC 40 (France): up 1.35%

In Europe, markets ended the week higher following a lift in commodity-related shares. On the FTSE, shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) ended up 4.2% and 3.5% higher, respectively.

US markets ended modestly higher, led by the energy and materials sectors.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a 20-point, or 0.4%, rise in the S&P/ASX 200.

Shares in focus will include XERO FPO NZ  (ASX: XRO). This morning, Xero announced its chief product officer, Angus Norton, will step down to return home to Seattle, USA. Duncan Ritchie, chief platform officer, will resume responsibility for the global product team immediately.

Nuplex Industries Ltd (ASX: NPX) announced it entered a scheme implementation agreement with Allnex Belgium. Nuplex says due diligence by both companies has been undertaken and its directors intend to vote in favour of the deal. Under the scheme, Allnex will acquire all outstanding shares in Nuplex for NZ$5.43.

Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) said it signed a new contract with the NBN worth $1.6 billion. The contract will see Telstra provide planning, design, construction and construction management services under the existing Telstra Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) footprint.

Finally, in broker news, analysts at Goldman Sachs cut their price target on shares of Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX: BOQ) 5.5% to $12.99, while Morgan Stanley analysts downgraded Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB) from equal-weight to underweight.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares of Xero. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Xero. 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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