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S&P/ASX 200 To Open Higher, 3 ASX Shares To Watch

The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO)(^AXJO) is expected to open higher today, the USA’s S&P 500 Index (.INX) went up 0.76% on Thursday.

Australian Dollar ($A) (AUDUSD): 71.94 US cents

Dow Jones (DJI): up 0.67%

Oil (WTI): $US52.21 per barrel

Gold: $US1,292 per ounce

ASX Sharemarket News

In ASX sharemarket news, BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) has come under fire by opposition leader Bill Shorten for making up to 80 people redundant on vessels that carry iron from WA to Wollongong, then replacing those workers with a foreign crew.

Those workers were supposedly the last ones to work as an Australian crew on an iron ore ship after more than 100 years of local workers. BHP has also been accused in the past of allegedly using tax loopholes such as its Singapore hub to reduce its Australian tax.

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Another miner appearing in the news for better reasons is Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) which just released its fourth quarter production results for December 2018.

Rio Tinto said that Pilbara iron ore shipments were down 3% compared to the fourth quarter of 2017 but up 7% compared to the third quarter of 2018. Pilbara iron ore shipments of 338 million tonnes in 2018 were 2% higher than 2017. Mined copper increased by 20% in the fourth quarter compared to last year’s fourth quarter.

Rio Tinto CEO J-S Jacques said: We delivered a solid operational performance in the final quarter of 2018, in particular across our copper assets. During the year, we further strengthened our asset portfolio, continuing to invest in high-quality growth.”

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Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD) has just revealed its monthly traffic performance for December 2018. International passenger numbers grew by a pleasing 3.7% however the number of domestic passengers actually fell by 2.6%, leading to total passengers falling by 0.1% compared to last year.

The CEO of Sydney Airport, Geoff Culbert, said: “2018 was another record year for Sydney Airport with 44.4 million passengers travelling through our three terminals, an increase of 2.5% compared to 2017. 

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