Australia shares seen extending gains on Fed comments

Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:39pm EST

SYDNEY, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set for a
strong start on Thursday, with  sentiment boosted by strong
gains on Wall Street after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben
Bernanke made it clear there was no intention to end policy
stimulus earlier than expected.
    
    * Local share price index futures gained 0.8
percent to 5,061, a 24.4-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX
200 index close. The benchmark rose 0.7 percent on
Wednesday.
    * New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.5
percent to 4,296.7 in early trade.
    * U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, with major indexes posting
their best daily gains since early January, as Bernanke remained
steadfast in supporting the Fed's stimulus policy and data
pointed to economic improvement.  
    * Copper was steady, supported by a weaker dollar and the
Fed's reassurance it would continue monetary stimulus, but
lacklustre demand from top consumer China kept a lid on gains. 
    * Spot iron ore prices steadied after falling to one-month
lows, supported by a potential disruption in supply from top
exporter Australia, although weaker steel prices in China are
keeping buying interest for the raw material in check. 
    * Australia's top supermarket chain Woolworths 
posted a 4.2 percent rise in its first-half profit and slightly
upgraded its full year guidance while noting challenging trading
conditions in retail. 
    * Treasury Wine Estates Ltd, the world's
second-largest wine company, posted a 23 percent fall in its
first-half profit, dragged down by falling sales in the United
Kingdom, higher costs and a poor vintage. 

------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2152 GMT -----------------
                    INSTRUMENT   LAST       PCT CHG   NET CHG
S&P 500                   1515.99      1.27%    19.050
USD/JPY                   92.12        0.16%     0.150
10-YR US TSY YLD     1.9014          --     0.015
SPOT GOLD                 1596.9      -0.02%    -0.310
US CRUDE                  92.86        0.25%     0.230
DOW JONES                 14075.37     1.26%    175.24
ASIA ADRS                136.08       0.35%      0.48
--------------------------------------------------------------  
 

        
  * Wall St gains on Bernanke comments, S&P above 1,500    
  * Brent falls near month-low under $112                 
  * Gold down 1 pct on U.S. Fed policy and budget cuts   
  * Copper steady after Fed defends easing, dlr weakens 
    
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 (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by John Mair)