Australia shares seen falling on iron ore rout, flat lead on Wall St

SYDNEY Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:46pm EST

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SYDNEY Jan 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares could fall on Wednesday if bluechip miners take a beating after iron ore fell to its weakest level in over six months, while investors may exercise caution after Wall Street finished mostly flat overnight.

* Local share price index futures fell 0.4 percent, a 61.8 point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark slipped 0.2 percent on Wednesday.

* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.2 percent in early trade.

* U.S. stocks closed mostly flat as the latest corporate earnings came in mixed and a selloff in IBM shares weighed on the Dow.

* Copper prices fell on Wednesday on concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve could further cut monetary stimulus next week, but declines were limited by tight short-term availability of metal in the physical market.

* Iron ore fell to its weakest level in more than six months amid slow demand from top importer China. Prices, which have already lost 8 percent this month, are at risk of sliding further.

* Gold prices fell, extending the previous session's one-percent pullback, hurt by technical weakness and strength in the dollar and U.S. equities.

* Santos Ltd will release its quarterly activities report later in the day.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2132 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1844.86 0.06% 1.060 USD/JPY 104.51 0.2% 0.210 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.8619 -- 0.039 SPOT GOLD 1236.44 -0.38% -4.670 US CRUDE 96.63 1.75% 1.660 DOW JONES 16373.34 -0.25% -41.10 ASIA ADRS 147.70 0.65% 0.95 -------------------------------------------------------------

* S&P 500 ends flat; IBM weighs on Dow * Oil rises on Gulf Coast pipeline start, heating demand * Gold eases on technical weakness, dollar; Fed eyed * Copper dips on worries Fed could taper next week

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)

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