Australia shares seen subdued on Syria, gold may support

SYDNEY Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:17pm EDT

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SYDNEY Aug 29 (Reuters) - Australian shares are expected to trade cautiously on Thursday as the West moves closer to taking military action against Syria, but a rebound on Wall Street and a rise in gold prices may underpin the market.

* Local share price index futures remained flat but were still an 18.2-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark fell 1.1 percent on Wednesday, its biggest one-day drop in three weeks.

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

* Wall Street rose on Wednesday as energy shares rallied on higher oil prices as the United States and its allies edged closer to military action against Syria as punishment for last week's chemical weapons attack against civilians.

* Copper fell on Wednesday as the dollar rose and as nervousness over a potential U.S.-led military strike against Syria made investors more adverse to risk, while concerns over excessive copper supply in China also weighed.

* The spot gold price briefly rose above $1,430 an ounce to a three-and-a-half-month high on safe-haven buying.

* Westfield Group reported its half year revenue fell 0.3 percent to $1.18 billion.

* Australia's top airliner Qantas Airways Ltd reported that its full year underlying profit before tax rose to $192 million from $95 million a year ago.

* Australian business second quarter capex is due out later on Thursday.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2251 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1634.96 0.27% 4.480 USD/JPY 97.71 0.09% 0.090 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.7653 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1416.16 -0.10% -1.480 US CRUDE 109.63 -0.43% -0.470 DOW JONES 14824.51 0.33% 48.38 ASIA ADRS 137.78 0.23% 0.32 -------------------------------------------------------------

* Wall St rebounds as energy stocks rise over Syria * Brent oil jumps, hits 6-mnth high as Syria roils market * Gold ends mixed, hits 3-1/2 mnth high on Syria jitters * Copper falls as potential Sryria strike spurs caution

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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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