Australia shares seen edging higher, investors cautious on earnings

SYDNEY Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:40pm EDT

SYDNEY Aug 21 (Reuters) - Australian shares are likely to open up on Wednesday after Wall Street snapped a four-session losing streak overnight and metals prices firmed, but the underlying trend may be influenced by a raft of earnings releases during the morning session.

* Local share price index futures rose 0.3 percent but were still a 14.2-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark fell 0.7 percent on Tuesday.

* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.5 percent in early trade.

* The S&P 500 bounced on Tuesday to end a four-day losing skid, as earnings from Best Buy and TJX CVos helped buoy retailers and consumer discretionary stocks.

* Copper steadied on Tuesday as support from a weaker dollar counteracted investor unease over an expected cut in U.S. economic stimulus. Gold prices rose as the dollar weakened.

* Australian building materials maker Boral Ltd posted a 3 percent rise in full-year net profit as low domestic building activity, pricing pressures and restructuring costs restrained earnings.

* Rail and ports operator Asciano Ltd reported a 41 percent rise in 2013 full-year net profit on Wednesday, driven by a strong performance in its coal haulage business, but said it expected slower growth in 2014.

* Iluka Resources Ltd reported its half year profit from ordinary activities after tax was down 87.5 percent to $34.3 million.

* Suncorp Group Ltd reported a full year after tax profit of $491 million.

* Woodside Petroleum Ltd is due to release its earnings on Wednesday.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2310 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1652.35 0.38% 6.290 USD/JPY 97.34 0.08% 0.080 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.8179 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1369.11 -0.11% -1.560 US CRUDE 105.22 0.10% 0.110 DOW JONES 15002.99 -0.05% -7.75 ASIA ADRS 139.52 -0.48% -0.68 -------------------------------------------------------------

* Wall St bounces to end four-day skid; retailers gain * U.S. oil drops on pipeline outage, contract expiration * Gold turns higher as dollar down ahead of Fed minutes * Copper steadies on weak dollar, Fed eyed

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(Australia/New Zealand bureaux; +61 2 9373 1800/+64 4 471 4234)

(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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