Australia shares seen quiet ahead of Fed meeting
SYDNEY, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set for a cautious start on Wednesday, following a small dip on Wall Street, as investors tend to sit on the sidelines ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting and wait for more clarity around its stimulus program. * Local share price index futures was flat at 5,101, a 2.2-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark rose 0.3 percent in the last session. * New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.6 percent to 4,697.6 in early trade. * U.S. stocks closed slightly lower on Tuesday, with investors reluctant to make big bets before the results of a Federal Reserve meeting that could give some clarity as to when the central bank will begin trimming its stimulus. * Copper was steady near a 2-month peak on Tuesday as economic data from the United States brightened the outlook for metals demand but also raised the chances the Federal Reserve will curb its commodity-friendly stimulus programme soon. * Canada's Saputo Inc stepped up its bid for Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co on Tuesday, aiming to knock out its rivals with a final sweetened offer after receiving a regulatory rap over the knuckles. * Sri Lanka has approved Australian Crown Resorts Ltd's $400 million complex along with two similar projects, but without any explicit permission to operate casinos at them, the island's junior investment minister said on Tuesday. * Australia and New Zealand Banking Group will hold its annual general meeting on Wednesday. ----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2203 GMT ------------ INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1781 -0.31% -5.540 USD/JPY 102.67 0.01% 0.010 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.8354 -- -0.042 SPOT GOLD 1230.24 0.05% 0.640 US CRUDE 97.28 -0.21% -0.200 DOW JONES 15875.26 -0.06% -9.31 ASIA ADRS 143.73 -0.59% -0.86 ------------------------------------------------------------- * Wall St ends slightly lower on day before Fed statement * Oil slips as Fed news awaited, Brent-WTI spread narrows * Gold drops 1 pct on speculation over Fed tapering * Copper steady near two-month high, Fed meeting 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) (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang)
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