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

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

Here’s a recap:

  • FTSE 100 (UK): down 0.18%
  • DAX (Germany): up 1.12%
  • CAC 40 (France): up 0.50%
  • Dow Jones (USA): down 0.2%
  • NASDAQ (USA): up 0.30%

In London, mining shares were pummelled following worse-than-expected economic data out of China. According to The Telegraph, last month, China’s exports and imports fell 1.8% and 10.9%, respectively. However, the drops in trade follows spikes reported in March.

FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) fell 5.5% and 8.1%, respectively.

US markets put in a mixed performance on Monday. The materials and energy sectors fell sharply while defensive shares, such as those in the healthcare sector, ended firmly higher.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a 16-point, or 0.3%, fall in the S&P/ASX 200.

Shares in focus today will include Mesoblast Limited (ASX: MSB). This morning, the biotechnology company revealed its quarterly report showing a net loss (unsurprisingly), but narrowed its cash burn in-line with previous guidance.

Incitec Pivot Ltd (ASX: IPL) reported its half-year results to the market showing a 4.4% fall in revenue and 78.5% fall in statutory profit. Excluding material items, profit fell 6.4% compared to the prior corresponding period.

Hansen Technologies Limited (ASX: HSN) announced it has executed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire PPL Solutions. Hansen said if the transaction goes ahead, the Solutions business will represent approximately 5% of operating earnings.

Finally, in broker news, Deutsche Bank analysts have upped Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) shares to a ‘buy’ and raised their price target 12% to $73.20, while UBS analysts raised their REA Group Limited (ASX: REA) price target 8.3% to $52, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz has a financial interest in Hansen Technologies. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Hansen Technologies. 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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