RPT-Australia shares seen rising modestly, investors eye earnings

Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:21pm EST

(Repeats.)

SYDNEY Feb 28 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to post modest rise on Friday underpinned by the S&P 500 stock index closing at record highs overnight, however a drop in metals prices may cap gains as investors continue to eye some earnings due later in the day.

* Local share price index futures added 24 points, an 8.6-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark fell 0.5 percent on Thursday.

* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index was flat in early trade.

* The U.S. S&P 500 index closed at a record on Thursday and ended in positive territory for the year after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said harsh weather seems to be behind recent U.S. economic softness.

* Copper slipped to its lowest in nearly three months, weighed down by concerns over demand from top consumer China, while growing political turmoil in Ukraine also sapped appetite for risky assets such as metals. Iron ore dropped to its lowest in nearly eight months.

* Virgin Airways Ltd reported a first half pre-tax loss of A$49.7 million.

* James Hardie Industries PLC said its net operating profit for the quarter was $92.2 million, compared with $31.5 million for the prior corresponding quarter. It also announced a special dividend of $0.28 per security.

* Woolworths Ltd and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Company Holdings Ltd will report their first half results later in the day.

* Monthly private sector credit data from the Reserve Bank of Australia will be released at 0030 GMT.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2215 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1854.29 0.49% 9.130 USD/JPY 102.18 0.07% 0.070 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.6423 -- -0.032 SPOT GOLD 1330.79 -0.02% -0.270 US CRUDE 102.14 -0.44% -0.450 DOW JONES 16272.65 0.46% 74.24 ASIA ADRS 144.49 0.57% 0.83 -------------------------------------------------------------

* S&P 500 ends at record & up for 2014 after Yellen * Brent oil weakens on Ukraine worries * Gold flat after Yellen comments; platinum rises * China demand concerns send copper to near 3-mnth low

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(Australia/New Zealand bureaux; +61 2 9373 1800/+64 4 471 4234)

(Reporting by Thuy Ong)

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