Australia shares seen pushing past 5-1/2 year high on Wall St rally

SYDNEY, April 10 Wed Apr 9, 2014 6:29pm EDT

SYDNEY, April 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to extend gains past 5-1/2 year highs reached in the previous session as a rally on Wall Street and an uptick in metals prices may underpin the market, though investors may be cautious ahead of employment data due later in the day.

* Local share price index futures gained 0.7 percent, a 40.2-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark jumped 1 percent on Wednesday.

* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.3 percent in early trade.

* U.S. stocks rallied on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting suggested that officials were not as eager to tighten policy as some investors believed.

* Spot iron ore prices rose to the highest since February as firmer steel demand encouraged Chinese mills to restock, helping the raw material recover nearly 13 percent from last month's rout. Gold rose, boosted by a weaker dollar and the release of Federal Reserve minutes.

* Employment data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and first half results from Ten Network Holdings will be released later in the day.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2212 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1872.18 1.09% 20.220 USD/JPY 101.99 0.02% 0.020 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.6935 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1312.16 0.06% 0.760 US CRUDE 103.33 -0.26% -0.270 DOW JONES 16437.18 1.11% 181.04 ASIA ADRS 143.17 0.97% 1.37 -------------------------------------------------------------

* Wall St soars after Fed minutes signal support * U.S. crude oil up on spike in gas demand, technical trade * Gold turns higher after Fed minutes ease rate hike fears * Nickel hits one-year peak on Indonesia jitters, copper down

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

(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by)

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