ASX 200 set to lift at open: 16 shares you need to watch today

The local S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is set to rise agin today, following the lead set by international markets overnight. European markets showed particular strength, especially in Germany where the DAX soared 2.5%.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • FTSE 100 (UK): up 0.62%
  • DAX (Germany): up 2.5%
  • CAC 40 (France): up 1.19%
  • Dow Jones (USA): up 0.02%
  • NASDAQ (USA): up 0.24%

The Sydney Futures Exchange is pointing to a 10-point gain at the open, which will take the ASX 200 closer to cracking through the 5,600-point mark once again.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) will be a major focus today after the bank released its full-year earnings results. The bank reported a cash profit of $9.45 billion, which was slightly below forecasts but 3% higher on the prior year. Its net interest margin also trended marginally lower while its dividend remained unchanged.

The results could also have an impact on shares of National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB), Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ), depending on how investors respond.

SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited-Ord (ASX: SKC) also released its earnings results, reporting a 9% lift in revenue and a 13.1% lift in reported net profit.

Other companies that are due to report their earnings include Fairfax Media Limited (ASX: FXJ), Oz Minerals Limited (ASX: OZL) and AGL Energy Ltd (ASX: AGL), together with Computershare Limited (ASX: CPU).

In the resources sector, companies such as St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) could benefit from higher iron ore and gold prices. Energy shares such as Santos Ltd (ASX: STO), on the other hand, could suffer as a result of a 1% dip in the oil price.

It’s likely that investors will also be watching shares of REA Group Limited (ASX: REA), Carsales.Com Ltd (ASX: CAR) and Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH) closely today. The trio all fell sharply immediately after their earnings reports yesterday, but managed to recover most of their losses by the end of the session.

Meanwhile, investors will also be watching shares of Prana Biotechnology Limited (ASX: PBT). The company was forced to respond to a speeding ticket issued by the ASX in relation to yesterday’s 56% rally despite the absence of any news from the business.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. 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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