Australia shares seen up on metals prices, China stimulus hopes

Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:13pm EDT

SYDNEY, March 26 (Reuters) - Australian stocks are seen
opening higher on Wednesday following a rebound on Wall Street,
with gains in copper and iron ore prices set to help underpin
mining shares on hopes that China may move to stimulate a
slowing economy.
    
    * Stock index futures rose 0.4 percent to 5,357.0,
a 20.4-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index
, which closed 0.2 percent lower at 5,336.6 on Tuesday.
    * New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.3
percent to 5,144.2 in early trade.
    * U.S. stocks ended higher on Tuesday, rebounding from a
two-day decline as the hard-hit biotechnology sector regained
its momentum and a strong reading on consumer confidence boosted
optimism about the economy.
    * Copper rose to its highest level in two weeks on Tuesday,
supported by prospects that key commodities consumer China will
act to support its slowing economy and by improved risk appetite
in wider markets.
    * China iron ore futures jumped 4 percent on Tuesday and
rebar rose the most in one-and-a-half years in a rally fuelled
by expectations that Beijing will step in to stimulate a slowing
economy. 
    * New Zealand's Fonterra  reported a 41
percent fall in first-half earnings on Wednesday as the
farmer-owned co-operative's margins were hit by higher costs and
a lack of capacity to process higher-yielding products.
   
    * Sigma Pharmaceuticals Ltd said it bought Central
Healthcare for A$24.5 million, adding that the acquisition would
be immediately earnings accretive.
  
------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2202 GMT ------------------
                    INSTRUMENT   LAST       PCT CHG   NET CHG
S&P 500                   1,865.62     0.44     8.180
USD/JPY                   102.26          0     0.000
10-YR US TSY YLD     2.7498         --     0.000
SPOT GOLD                 1,311.11     0.05     0.670
US CRUDE                  99.15       -0.04    -0.040
DOW JONES                 16,367.88    0.56     91.19
ASIA ADRS                138.98       0.82      1.13
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 * Wall Street rebounds; biotech shares snap losing streak  
 * Brent rises on Russia risk, Nigeria, Libya supply worry 
 * Bargain hunting, technicals lift gold from 5-week lows 
 * Copper hits 2-week high on China stimulus prospects   
                                                    
    
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 (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang, editing by G Crosse)