Australia shares seen quiet ahead of Fed meeting

Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:05pm EST

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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