Futures contracts for the S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO)(ASX: XJO) index are pointing to a positive open on Friday morning with BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) in the spotlight.

Here’s the key headline data:

Australian Dollar ($A) (AUDUSD): 74.7 US cents

Dow Jones (DJI): down 0.1%

Oil (WTI): $US66.93 per barrel

Gold: $US1,306 per ounce

Australian Investing News

Making news in Australia today, BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP), Australia’s largest mining company, announced it will make a $US2.9 billion investment in Western Australia’s South Flank iron ore project in the Pilbara region.

“The project will create around 2,500 construction jobs, more than 600 ongoing operational roles and generate many opportunities for Western Australian suppliers,” BHP’s Mike Henry said. “It will enhance the average quality of BHP’s Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) production and will allow us to benefit from price premiums for higher-quality lump and fines products.”

The South Flank project will replace 80 million tonnes of production from the Yandi mine, which is nearing the end of its economic life. Due to the high-quality of its ore BHP says the average grade of the iron ore, a steelmaking ingredient, will improve from 61% to 62%.

Also in mining news, Yancoal Australia Ltd (ASX: YAL) responded to speculation that the company will list new shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange and raise $US600 million to $US800 million from investors. “Yancoal continues to consider several options to help improve liquidity of its shares and support the continued growth of the Company,” Yancoal said in a statement. However, it added that it has, “not made a decision”.

Further down the ASX and diagnostic imaging business Capitol Health Limited (ASX: CAJ) provided a market update, reaffirming its 2018 financial year (FY18) profit guidance. It also announced the introduction of a share ownership scheme for doctors who are employed with the business for at least six months.

Capitol Health said: “The grant of options to eligible Doctors assists in the motivation, retention and reward of Doctors of the Company and its subsidiaries.”

The Melbourne-based company expects to report an underlying FY18 operating profit (EBITDA) between $23 million and $25 million.

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