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Stocks Focus

Selling on European and US exchanges on Friday night leaves the Asia Pacific region to set the direction for global shares. Ongoing demand for safe haven investments at slightly lower levels underpins investor nervousness although surging oil prices and support for other industrial commodities may see sentiment swing back top growth this week.

There is little macro data this week to jolt the Australia 200 index from the narrow trading range it described over the last three months. Instead investors and traders will likely focus on the busiest week of the corporate reporting season. Highlights this week include BHP and Amcor on Tuesday, Coca Cola Amatil and Isentia on Wednesday and Medibank on Friday.

Results so far today are mixed. Brambles and G8 Education may come under pressure after reporting top line earnings below analyst consensus estimates. Beach Petroleum could see support after a swing back to profitability on higher oil prices and lower impairments. Traders will watch the action in Bluescope Steel amid contradictory commentary. Some will point to the doubling in profit as a buy signal, other investors may fret about a slight miss on revenues and cautious commentary about the year ahead.

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