S&P/ASX 200 set for positive start: 8 shares to watch

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

Here’s a recap:

  • FTSE 100 (UK): up 3%
  • DAX (Germany): up 3.4%
  • CAC 40 (France): up 3.5%
  • Dow Jones (USA): up 0.7%
  • NASDAQ (USA): up 0.8%

In London, the British pound notched up its biggest single-day gain in eight years and shares rallied 3% higher as the latest opinion polls showed a ‘remain’ vote is most likely for this week’s EU referendum. FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) finished 2.6% and 1.8% higher, respectively.

US markets also ended higher as fears of Brexit continued to subside and oil prices jumped nearly 3% to $US49.37 a barrel. The materials and energy sectors were best performing.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a 24-point, or 0.4%, rise from the S&P/ASX 200.

Shares in focus will include AIR N.Z. FPO NZ (ASX: AIZ). This morning, the Kiwi airline operator confirmed the sale of a 19.98% stake in Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (ASX: VAH) to China’s privately held Nanshan Group. As a result, Air New Zealand now holds just 5.9% of Virgin shares.

Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG) announced it will recommence open pit mining at its Ravenswood Gold Mine in July 2016.

BHP Billiton updated the market on its coal business. The mining giant said it will improve returns by increasing production and reducing costs, despite challenging conditions. “Rather than waiting for higher prices, we have been deliberate in shaping a quality, focused portfolio that allows us to deliver value in challenging market conditions and positions us well for an expected longer-term improvement in coal market fundamentals,” BHP’s Mike Henry said.

Finally, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) announced the appointment of Anna Lenahan as Group General Counsel and Group Executive of Corporate Affairs.

In broker news:

  • Credit Suisse analysts raised their Metcash Limited (ASX: MTS) price target 4.4% to $2.35;
  • Macquarie analysts cut their ERM Power Ltd (ASX: EPW) price target 44% to $1.09; and
  • UBS analysts initiated GBST Holdings Limited (ASX: GBT) shares with a ‘neutral’ rating and $5.12 price target, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any company mentioned in this article. You can follow Owen 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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