Australia shares seen firm boosted by U.S. data

Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:32pm EST

Jan 18 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to open firm on
Friday boosted by a strong close on Wall Street on
better-than-expected housing and jobs data driving the S&P 500
to a five-year high.
    Focus will be on mining stocks after an abrupt shift in
leadership at Rio Tinto with chief executive Tom
Albanese being replaced by iron ore head Sam Walsh following
billions of dollars of write-offs on aluminium and coal assets. 
 
    GDP data from China, Australia's biggest export customer,
will also be closely watched at 0200 GMT. 
    Local share index futures rose 34 points to 4,755,
a 1.63 point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index
 close. The benchmark rose 18.18 points to 4,756.63 on
Thursday.
    Stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data not only propelled
Wall Street to its highest since late 2007 but also boosted
copper more than 1 percent.  Platinum jumped to a three-month
high, while U.S. crude for February rose $1.23 a barrel
to $95.49. 
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 7.94
points to 4204.75 in early trade.
                                                                                                      
 ----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2155 GMT ------------
                     INSTRUMENT   LAST       PCT CHG   NET CHG
 S&P 500                          1480.94      0.56%     8.310
 USD/JPY                          89.87        1.69%     1.490
 10-YR US TSY YLD                 1.8803          --     0.062
 SPOT GOLD                        1687.4       0.01%     0.140
 US CRUDE                         95.2         1.02%     0.960
 DOW JONES                        13596.02     0.63%     84.79
 ASIA ADRS                        134.90       0.92%      1.22
 -------------------------------------------------------------                                        
 
  * Wall St closes at 5-year high with boost form data   
  * Oil rises on improving U.S. jobs, housing data      
  * Platinum rises above gold again on bullish US data 
  * Copper rises on upbeat U.S. data, China demand eyed 
    
    For a digest of the day's business stories in Australian 
newspapers, double click on    
        
 (Australia/New Zealand bureaux; +61 2 9373 1800/+64 4 471 
4234)