Australia shares seen slumping as U.S. Fed tapers

Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:12pm EST

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SYDNEY, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Australian shares are seen
slumping on Thursday after Wall Street dropped overnight as the
U.S. Fed Reserve decided to continue tapering its bond-buying
program, but, an uptick in gold may hold off broader losses.
    
    * Local share price index futures lost 1.2 percent,
a 117-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index 
close. The benchmark recovered 1 percent on Wednesday.
    * New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.5
percent in early trade.
    * U.S. stocks dropped more than 1 percent on Wednesday,
hitting session lows after the Federal Reserve stuck with its
plan to scale back stimulus even in the midst of emerging market
turmoil.
    * South Africa's central bank raised interest rates for the
first time in six years. Its move followed a dramatic rate hike
by Turkey's central bank late Tuesday, designed to defend its
crumbling currency.  
    * Spot iron ore hovered near their lowest level since July,
pressured by weaker steel prices in top consumer China and as
trading activity winds down ahead of the Lunar New Year. 
    * Gold rose in choppy trade as global equities slumped.
    * Fortescue Metals Group Ltd is due to release its
second quarter production report later in the day. 
    
    INSERT ASIA PREOPEN TABLE HERE
        
  * Wall St falls after Fed sticks with taper plan          
  * Oil edges lower, heating demand supports; Brent firm   
  * Gold up after Fed cuts stimulus further, equities
slide 
  * Aluminium hits 4-1/2 yr low, copper off ahead of Asian
holiday 
    
    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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