Here are the stories from the S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO)(^AXJO) and Australian finance circles today.

The ASX 200 is expected to open higher, according to futures trading in Sydney, after a good day on Tuesday.

First, here are the data points:

Australian Dollar ($A) (AUDUSD): 72.01 US cents

Dow Jones (DJI): down 0.22%

Oil (WTI): $US52.12 per barrel

Gold: $US1,248 per ounce

ASX 200 News

In sharemarket news today, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) has announced it will again be forced to cough up for charges and ‘remediation’ for customers. In an announcement on Tuesday, CBA said it will receive an insurance benefit of $135 million.

However, it will incur another $100 million in provisions for costs to customers, and allocate $200 million in provisions for potential claims against its wealth management and mortgage broking business. These fees are in addition to the $270 million paid out to customers.

Read more here: Commbank Hit By More Payouts – Are Shares Cheap?

Also making headlines, Sonic Healthcare Ltd (ASX: SHL) announced it will buy the USA’s Aurora Diagnostics for $US540 million ($750 million). Aurora is one of the leading providers of pathology services in the USA, according to Sonic. It has 220 pathologists and 32 practices.

To pay for the takeover, Sonic will sell $600 million worth of new shares to institutional investors at $19.50 per share. It will then sell $100 million of shares to smaller investors via a Share Purchase Plan or “SPP”. Click here to learn what an SPP and institutional placement mean.

Sonic’s CEO Dr. Colin Goldschmidt said the Aurora deal, “will offer Sonic Healthcare USA the scale and critical mass to boost the national promotion of Sonic’s unique Medical Leadership model in the U.S. laboratory and pathology markets.” 

Finally, construction company MACA Limited (ASX: MCD) announced it has been awarded a project from Adaman Resources at its Kirkalocka Gold Project in WA. The value of the contract is worth $28 million, will start in early 2019 and works will last eight months.

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Disclaimer: Any information contained in this article is limited to general financial/investment advice only. The information has not taken into account your specific needs, goals or objectives, so please consider consulting a licenced and trusted adviser before acting on the information. Please read The Rask Group’s Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information. This article is authorised by Owen Raszkiewicz of The Rask Group, which is a corporate authorised representative No. 1264179 of Strawman Pty Ltd (ACN: 610 908 211) (AFSL: 501 223).