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

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:

  • FTSE 100 (UK): up 0.14%
  • DAX (Germany): up 0.18%
  • CAC 40 (France): down 0.42%
  • Dow Jones (USA): up 0.45%
  • NASDAQ (USA): up 0.40%

In London, poor jobs data out of the US took the FTSE 100 lower before recovering to trade modestly higher. FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) finished 0.7% and 1.9% lower, respectively.

Despite the lacklustre US payroll numbers fuelling employment market concerns, US markets also ended slightly higher. The materials and consumer staples sectors were the best-performing.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a 22-point, or 0.4%, rise in the S&P/ASX 200.

Shares in focus will include Air New Zealand or AIR N.Z. FPO NZ (ASX: AIZ). This morning, the leading airline operator announced the settlement of a long-running class action in the United States. The settlement amount is $US35 million. The company said its recent 2016 profit outlook did not incorporate the effect of the settlement.

Mirvac Group (ASX: MGR) announced it has agreed to purchase Toombul Shopping Centre in Brisbane for $233.3 million. Mirvac said the centre fits well within its successful urban retail strategy.

Toombul formed part of four centres held by Vicinity Centres Re Ltd (ASX: VCX). Vicinity, formally known as Federation Centres, today announced it sold four of its retail assets for a combined $841.4 million.

Also, this morning, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) released its March quarter trading update hinting at slightly higher operating income together with higher expenses. Loan impairment expense swung higher, which the bank attributed to institutional lending. However, the bank said its credit quality remains “sound” despite pockets of market weakness.

Orica Ltd (ASX: ORI) released its half-year report to the market showing a 22.1% fall in revenue to $2.55 billion and 32.9% decline in profit to $149 million.

Finally, in broker news, analysts from Deutsche Bank raised their Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN) price target 3.1% to $13.40, while Morgan Stanley analysts cut their SMS Management & Technology Limited (ASX: SMX) price target 24% to $1.60, according to Dow Jones Newswires .

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares of Computershare and Seek. 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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