Australia shares seen in cautious start, investors eye data
SYDNEY Feb 11 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set for a cautious start on Tuesday, as Wall Street posted modest gains overnight, though a slip in metals prices and data due out later in the day may keep investors at bay.
* Local share price index futures were at a 52.1 point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark rose 1.1 percent on Monday to 5,222.14.
* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.1 percent in early trade.
* U.S. stocks ended with modest gains on Monday as investors digested recent market gains and looked ahead to new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's first testimony before lawmakers.
* Copper dipped as investors worried about weak demand in China, while Chinese steel futures fell to a record low on Monday. Gold rose on expectations that Yellen will stay the course in winding down bullion-friendly monetary stimulus, traders said.
* Toyota Motor Corp said on Monday it would stop making cars and engines in Autralia by the end of 2017, marking the end of an era for the once-vibrant auto production base and the loss of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.
* Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, Australia's third-largest bank by market value, on Tuesday reported a 13 percent rise in first quarter cash profit, slightly ahead of analyst forecasts.
* Macquarie Group, Australia's top investment bank, said it continued to expect an improved annual profit in the current fiscal year as market conditions showed signs of improvement.
* Automotive Group said the decision by Toyota Australia to end local production in Victoria was not expected to have any material impact on its business.
* Investors will eye a raft of data including mortgage lending, business confidence, house prices and consumer sentiment, due out later in the day.
* Bionic hearing-aid maker Cochlear Ltd will release its first-half results.
----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2149 GMT ------------
INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1799.84 0.16% 2.820 USD/JPY 102.2 -0.13% -0.130 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.6711 -- -0.004 SPOT GOLD 1274.34 0.61% 7.760 US CRUDE 99.99 0.11% 0.110 DOW JONES 15801.79 0.05% 7.71 ASIA ADRS 140.08 -0.19% -0.27 -------------------------------------------------------------
* Wall St closes slightly up; investors look to Yellen * Brent oil down $1, heating oil, increased supply weighs * Gold rises before Fed Chair Yellen's testimony * Copper gives up gains, down on Chinese worries
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 Kevin Liffey)
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