Australia shares seen dipping on weak metals prices, caution ahead of U.S. payrolls

SYDNEY Thu Jan 9, 2014 4:41pm EST

SYDNEY Jan 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares are seen dipping in early trade as a lack of leads from Wall Street and a fall in commodities prices may encourage investors to be cautious ahead of key U.S. non-farm payrolls data due out later on Friday.

* Local share price index futures fell 0.1 percent, a 38.4-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark rose 0.2 percent on Thursday.

* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index was flat in early trade.

* U.S. stocks ended little changed on Thursday in a choppy session ahead of Friday's payrolls report, which may provide insight into whether the Federal Reserve will announce another cut to quantitative easing at its meeting this month.

* Copper prices fell to two-week lows on Thursday. Gold prices rose after two days of losses.

* Chinese steel futures drifted to near contract lows on Thursday as poor demand in the world's top consumer weighed on prices.

* Saputo's offer for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co is due on Friday, although analysts expect the company to extend the offer period.

* Alcoa Inc, and a joint venture it controls have agreed to pay $384 million to resolve charges of bribing officials of a Bahraini state-controlled aluminum smelter, marking one of the largest U.S. anti-corruption settlements of its kind.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2131 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1838.13 0.03% 0.640 USD/JPY 104.78 -0.05% -0.050 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.9615 -- -0.032 SPOT GOLD 1227.76 0.17% 2.050 US CRUDE 92.37 0.04% 0.040 DOW JONES 16444.76 -0.11% -17.98 ASIA ADRS 146.07 -0.70% -1.03 -------------------------------------------------------------

* Wall St ends mostly flat before U.S. payrolls data * Brent pares gains after N. Sea outage, Libya concerns * Gold rises ahead of US jobs data, breaks two-day drop * Copper drops to two-week lows on Fed tapering caution

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 Thuy Ong; Editing by)