Australian shares seen slipping on Ukraine-Russia fears

Mon Mar 3, 2014 4:44pm EST

MELBOURNE, March 4 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to
open a touch weaker on Tuesday, with global investors selling
risk assets and seeking shelter in gold and the U.S. dollar as a
confrontation between Ukraine and Russia intensifies.
       
    * Local share price index futures slipped 0.3
percent to 5,375.0, a 9.3-point discount to the underlying
S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark fell 0.4 percent
on Monday.
    * New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.3
percent to 4,992.5 in early trade.
    * U.S. stocks sold off on Monday alongside other risky
assets globally as Russia cemented its control of Ukraine's
Crimean peninsula after Russian President Vladimir Putin
declared he had the right to invade his neighbor. 
    * The geopolitical tension sent the U.S. dollar higher,
adding to pressure on copper prices, which sank to three-month
lows on Monday after data showed a modest cooling in factory
activity in China, the world's top consumer of the metal.
    * Struggling Qantas Airways will be in the frame
after the Australian coalition government agreed to loosen
restrictions on foreign ownership of the national carrier.
Opposition Labor politicians said the plan would not pass
parliament, even with a new Senate in July. 
    * Graincorp shares may come under pressure after
Australia's chief commodities forecaster said drought conditions
across the east coast will cut output of key farm commodities
such as wheat and beef next season and reduce exports.
 
    * The Reserve Bank of Australia holds its March policy
meeting on Tuesday, where it is considered almost certain to
hold rates at a record low of 2.5 percent. Its decision is due
to be released at 0330 GMT. 
    

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2119 GMT ------------
                    INSTRUMENT   LAST       PCT CHG   NET CHG
S&P 500                   1845.73     -0.74%   -13.720
USD/JPY                   101.38      -0.41%    -0.420
10-YR US TSY YLD     2.6012          --    -0.059
SPOT GOLD                 1351.01      1.90%    25.220
US CRUDE                  104.67       2.03%     2.080
DOW JONES                 16168.03    -0.94%   -153.68
ASIA ADRS                142.30      -1.11%     -1.60
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  * Wall St closes lower on unrest in Ukraine               
  * Oil jumps more than $2 on worries of Ukraine conflict  
  * Gold jumps 2 pct as Ukraine crisis fuels risk flight  
  * Copper sinks to three-month lows as China weighs     
    
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