Australia shares seen rising; BHP Billiton posts stellar result

Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:25pm EST

SYDNEY, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to post
modest gains in early trade on Tuesday as index heavyweight BHP
Billiton posted a stellar result, however a lack of leads
because of Wall Street's closure overnight may keep investors at
the sidelines.
    
    * Local share price index futures rose 0.5 percent,
but was still a 9.9-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200
index close. 
    * New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index edged 0.1
percent higher.
    * U.S. stock markets were closed for a public holiday. 
    * Copper rose for a second session, touching the strongest
level in 11 days, as the dollar weakened slightly and worries
about slower Chinese growth faded, prompting some shorts to buy
back positions. Gold hit a 3-1/2 month high. 
    * BHP Billiton  reported a 31 percent rise
in first-half underlying profit, well above market forecasts,
bolstered by aggressive cost-cutting and volume growth.
 
    * Australian rail and ports operator Asciano Ltd 
reported a 6 percent rise in underlying first-half net profit on
Tuesday, helped by a strong performance in its coal haulage
unit, and raised its outlook for the full year. 
    * Australian packaging group Amcor Ltd reported a
21.2 percent rise in its first-half net profit, driven by solid
growth in emerging markets including China and benefits from
recent acquisitions. 
    * Arrium Ltd, an Australian steel maker and iron
ore miner, reported a 294 percent jump in its first-half net
profit, thanks to record earnings in the mining business after
doubling its iron ore sales. 
    
----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2212 GMT ------------
                    INSTRUMENT   LAST       PCT CHG   NET CHG
S&P 500                   1838.63      0.48%     8.800
USD/JPY                   101.9       -0.02%    -0.020
10-YR US TSY YLD     2.7446          --     0.000
SPOT GOLD                 1328.59      0.01%     0.100
US CRUDE                  100.89       0.59%     0.590
DOW JONES                 16154.39     0.79%    126.80
ASIA ADRS                142.24       0.11%      0.16
-------------------------------------------------------------   
                                                        

        
  * Wall St was closed for a public holiday                 
  * Oil steadies around $109 on U.S. winter demand         
  * Gold at 3-1/2 month high on weak dollar, U.S. growth
concerns 
  * Copper climbs as Chinese growth worries fade; nickel
up 
    
    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 Eric Walsh)
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.