Australia shares seen opening higher; retail, trade balance data eyed

Wed Apr 2, 2014 5:42pm EDT

SYDNEY, April 3 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to
open higher on Thursday as Wall Street rose overnight and the
S&P 500 index closed at another record high, but investors may
exercise caution ahead of key retail and trade balance data due
out later in the day.
    
    * Local share price index futures rose 0.3 percent,
a 13.7-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index 
close. The benchmark rose 0.3 percent on Wednesday. 
    * New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.1
percent in early trade.
    * The S&P 500 closed at another record high on Wednesday as
signs of steady private-sector hiring suggested that the economy
was slowly building momentum after a winter-related pullback.
    * Copper rose to its highest in more than three weeks after
a powerful earthquake off the coast of top miner Chile triggered
a tsunami alert, raising concerns about supply. Gold rose about
1 percent, its largest gain in three weeks on bargain hunting.
    * The Australian Competition and Consumer Commision gives
its final decision on whether Transurban Group 's A$5
billion purchase of state-owned Queensland Motorways should go
ahead.
    * Freelancer Ltd said it has acquired virtual
content marketplace Fantero.com. 
    * National Australia Bank Ltd said it has appointed
Andrew Thorburn as group chief executive officer and managing
director, effective from Aug. 1. Cameron Clyne advised that he
will retire as group CEO and managing director of the bank.
 
    * Retail sales and trade balance data will be released at
0030 GMT.
    
------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2126 GMT ------------------
                    INSTRUMENT   LAST       PCT CHG   NET CHG
S&P 500                   1,890.90     0.29     5.380
USD/JPY                   103.85          0     0.000
10-YR US TSY YLD     2.8027         --     0.044
SPOT GOLD                 1,289.14     0.79    10.140
US CRUDE                  99.62       -0.12    -0.120
DOW JONES                 16,573.00    0.24     40.39
ASIA ADRS                144.34       0.42      0.60
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 * S&P 500 ends at fresh record; data puts jobs in focus   
 * Brent crude loses over $1 as Libya port deal nears     
 * Gold up 1 pct, most in 3 wks, ahead of U.S. jobs data 
 * Copper hits more than 3-wk high after Chile quake    
    
    For a digest of the day's business stories in Australian 
newspapers, double-click on 

 (Reporting by Thuy Ong, editing by G Crosse)