Australia shares seen taking breather with focus on local earnings

Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:22pm EST

SYDNEY, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Australian shares are likely to
take a breather on Wednesday, after touching a 5-1/2 year high,
and will have to take their cue from local earnings reports
after an uninspiring performance on Wall Street.

    * Local share price index futures fell 0.2 percent
to 5,401.0, a 32.8-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200
index close. The benchmark slipped 0.1 percent on
Tuesday after hitting a 5-1/2 year high intraday.
    * New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.1
percent to 4,960.8 in early trade.
    * U.S. stocks edged lower on Tuesday, easing from record
territory a day earlier as weak economic data offset gains in
Home Depot and other retail shares.
    * Copper fell for a second day on concern about the impact
of slower growth in China and its volatile property sector on
metal inventories.
    * Rio Tinto said it suspended bauxite mining at its
Gove operations in Australia on Tuesday following the death of a
worker. 
    * Brazilian mining firm B&A Mineração has pulled out of
talks to buy BHP Billiton's stake in the Mount Nimba
iron ore deposit in Guinea, bank and industry sources said, in
the latest sign that projects in riskier countries have become a
tough sell. 
    * Australian shopping mall owner Westfield Group 
said its funds from operations (FFO) rose 2.3 percent for full
year 2013 and said it expected to report 68.6 Australian cents
per share of FFO for 2014, prior to its restructuring proposal.
    * AGL Energy Ltd, Australia's second-largest
electricity and gas company, said on Wednesday underlying first
half profit fell 11.4 percent after a record warm winter reduced
demand for energy.    

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2214 GMT ------------
                    INSTRUMENT   LAST       PCT CHG   NET CHG
S&P 500                   1845.12     -0.13%    -2.490
USD/JPY                   102.17      -0.05%    -0.050
10-YR US TSY YLD     2.705           --    -0.045
SPOT GOLD                 1340.22      0.01%     0.080
US CRUDE                  102.05      -0.75%    -0.770
DOW JONES                 16179.66    -0.17%    -27.48
ASIA ADRS                143.58      -0.54%     -0.78
-------------------------------------------------------------   
                                                        

        
  * Wall St dips on day after S&P 500 hits record high     
  * U.S. oil slips on warm-up, demand for diesel wanes    
  * Gold at 4-month high on disappointing U.S. economic data    
                                            
  * Copper falls for second day as China worries resurface      
                                       
    
    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 Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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