Markets: Stocks to watch at the open

Nufarm is on a negative credit watch, while international leads may lift mining stocks.

Nufarm

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has said it might cut Nufarm's debt rating from BB to BB- following Moody’s move to put the listed agribusiness on a negative credit watch. This comes at an inconvenient time as Nufarm endeavours to refinance $406 million in bank debt maturing in November next year.

Debt-wise, Nufarm’s net debt position is expected to increase this financial year, on top of a 35 per cent increase last year. 

The outlook for Nufarm remains difficult following the loss of its Monsanto distribution agreement, higher debt levels and tough competition.

Miners

If domestic miners BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group follow international leads, they are well placed to rise today. The authorised deposit receipts for BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are suggesting modest gains.

Today marks the final day of China’s Golden Week, with iron ore trading to resume tomorrow. In addition to this, analysts over the past week have been adjusting their iron ore prices for the year ahead, so there could be extra interest in the miners early this week. 

The past five days of trade have seen the materials index lose more than 3 per cent, with energy stocks the only other sector to post a greater loss.

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