Australia shares may edge higher, investors cautious before RBA meeting
SYDNEY, July 2
SYDNEY, July 2 (Reuters) - Australian shares may inch higher in early trade as Wall Street rose overnight but investors will remain cautious ahead of a Reserve Bank policy meeting due later on Tuesday.
* Australian share price index futures rose 0.1 percent, but were still at an 18.3 point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark fell 1.9 percent on Monday, its biggest one-day drop since June 20.
* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.4 percent in early trade.
* U.S. stocks ended higher on the first day of the third quarter on Monday, supported by signs of strength in the manufacturing and construction sectors. But the major U.S. stock indices pulled back from their session highs late in the day as investors sold some shares to book profits.
* Copper rose on Monday in a rebound from a low last week, helped by a weaker dollar, but concerns remained about the outlook for demand after data showed growth in China's manufacturing sector had contracted.
* Gold started the third quarter strongly to jump more than 2 percent on Monday as technical buying and speculative short covering offset concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve will rein in its stimulus programme.
* Australia's Brambles Ltd, the world's biggest pallet supplier, said on Tuesday it planned to spin off its Recall information management business and list it on the Australian Stock Exchange.
* The Reserve Bank of Australia will meet later on Tuesday for its monthly policy meeting. The market is pricing in a 16 percent likelihood of a rate cut, while a Reuters poll showed 21 out of 23 economists see the cash rate unchanged at a record low of 2.75 percent.
----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2255 GMT ------------
INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1614.96 0.54% 8.680 USD/JPY 99.65 0% 0.000 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.4765 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1252.69 -0.01% -0.110 US CRUDE 98.07 0.08% 0.080 DOW JONES 14974.96 0.44% 65.36 ASIA ADRS 135.26 0.76% 1.02 -------------------------------------------------------------
* S&P 500 extends gains into year's 2nd half on solid data * Oil gains, Brent-US crude spread hits 2-1/2 year low * Gold starts Q3 with short covering rally * Copper rises but demand worries cap gains
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(Australia/New Zealand bureaux; +61 2 9373 1800/+64 4 471 4234)
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Paul Tait)
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