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

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO)(ASX: XJO) is expected to open flat on Friday, with shares of Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) and Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) in focus.

Here’s a quick recap of global markets:

  • FTSE 100 (UK): up 0.2%
  • DAX (Germany): up 1%
  • CAC 40 (France): up 1.35%
  • Dow Jones (USA): flat
  • NASDAQ (USA): flat

In London, blue chip shares ended modestly higher but were weighed down by falling commodity prices, including oil and iron ore. FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) fell 3.3% and 1.8%, respectively.

Across the pond, US markets failed to fire despite President Trump’s success in repealing Obamacare in the House. The vote will now move to the Senate. If passed, the deal could remove health cover for 20 million Americans, Democrats say.

Closer to home, the ASX 200 is expected to open slightly lower.

Shares in focus will include Macquarie Group. This morning, Australia’s largest investment bank reported a 6% increase in profit and a final dividend of $2.80 per share, taking the full-year payout to $4.70 – up from $4 last year.

Telstra Corporation and TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPM) shares will also be closely watched today following a decision by the ACCC not to allow the second tier mobile network providers to obtain access to other telco’s networks. The ACCC said access would be unlikely to improve competition in rural areas, despite suggestions from some companies (i.e. those who have not invested in rural networks) that it would.

Also in focus, yesterday evening, Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) reported a trading update to the market. The flying kangaroo expects underlying profit between $1.35 billion and $1.4 billion, with group revenue down 1.4%.

Boral Limited (ASX: BLD) shareholders will be pleased with the news that the USA’s Federal Trade Commission has completed its review of Boral’s proposed acquisition of Headwaters Inc and cleared the deal. Boral expects to close the $3.5 billion acquisition within two business days.

Finally, oil shares Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) and Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) could come under pressure today following an overnight selloff in oil prices on concerns of global oversupply.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any company mentioned. Owen welcomes and encourages your feedback. You can follow him on Twitter @OwenRask.

The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Telstra Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of TPG Telecom Limited. 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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