Australia shares seen pausing after rally, eyes on Yellen comments

Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:05pm EST

SYDNEY, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to have
a soft opening on Thursday, as investors become cautious with
shares hovering near a 5-1/2-year high on a largely positive
reporting season and also ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Janet
Yellen's comments.
    
    * Local share price index futures fell 0.3 percent
to 5,422.0, a 15.0-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200
index close. The benchmark edged up 0.1 percent on
Wednesday.
    * New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index dropped 0.2
percent to 4,964.5 in early trade.
    * U.S. stocks ended nearly flat on Wednesday with investors
hesitant to make a big move on the day before comments from
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, though shares of retailers
rallied for a second consecutive session.
    * Copper slipped to a three-week low on Wednesday as worries
about credit curbs on top consumer China's property developers
fed into wider concerns about global demand for the metal.
    * Seven Group Holdings reported a first-half net
profit after tax of A$263.9 million, up from A$256.8 million a
year earlier, but said the underlying net profit for the period
fell 44 percent to A$131 million.
    The company also said full-year 2014 underlying results
would be below that of full-year 2013 and full-year 2012.
    * Transfield Services Ltd said it posted A$4.6
million in the first-half profit attributable to members, up
101.9 percent from a year earlier.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2202 GMT ------------
                    INSTRUMENT   LAST       PCT CHG   NET CHG
S&P 500                   1845.16         0%     0.040
USD/JPY                   102.36       0.01%     0.010
10-YR US TSY YLD     2.6673          --    -0.034
SPOT GOLD                 1330        -0.05%    -0.700
US CRUDE                  102.55       0.71%     0.720
DOW JONES                 16198.41     0.12%     18.75
ASIA ADRS                143.66       0.06%      0.08
-------------------------------------------------------------   
                                                        
    
  * Wall St ends flat ahead of Fed chair's comments        
  * U.S. crude rises on small stock build, large draw at hub    
                                              
  * Gold falls on dollar rise, strong U.S. home sales    
  * Copper drops to three-week low, China policy a concern      
       
    
    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)