Australia shares seen posting modest gains ahead of Easter break

SYDNEY, April 17 Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:17pm EDT

SYDNEY, April 17 (Reuters) - Australian shares are expected to post modest gains on Wednesday after another positive night on Wall Street and a rise in copper prices, though activity will likely be subdued ahead of the long Easter and Anzac Day holiday break.

* Local share price index futures rose 0.3 percent, a 3.7-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark rose 0.6 percent on Wednesday.

* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index tacked on 0.1 percent in early trade.

* U.S. stocks rose 1 percent on Wednesday, advancing for a third straight session as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reaffirmed the central bank's commitment to keeping interest rates low and Yahoo rallied.

* Yellen, speaking in New York, reaffirmed the Fed's commitment to keep interest rates low, even after ending its bond-buying program, as long as inflation remains below target and unemployment elevated.

* Copper rose, recouping some of the last session's deep losses, on relief that top consumer China posted slightly higher-than-forecast first-quarter growth. Gold prices were little changed.

* Sydney Airport Holdings Ltd said first quarter and rolling 12 month international traffic through Sydney Airport was up 4.9 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.

* Dick Smith Holdings Ltd said it anticipates underlying sales growth to return to its New Zealand operations in FY 2015 and anticipates opening 6 new stores.

* National Australia Bank Ltd has appointed Anthony Healy as managing director and chief executive officer of Bank of New Zealand, replacing Andrew Thorburn.

* NRW Holdings Ltd has been awarded a contract worth A$200 million by Samsung C & T Corporation for the construction of the Package One Works at Roy Hill.

* Padbury Mining Ltd has requested an extension on a trading suspension, saying it expects to make an announcement "before the commencement of trading on 23 April."

* Monthly motor vehicle sales data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Q1 production reports from Woodside Petroleum Ltd and Santos Ltd are due out later in the day. ----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2310 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1862.31 1.05% 19.330 USD/JPY 102.21 -0.01% -0.010 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.6355 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1302.21 -0.01% -0.190 US CRUDE 103.85 0.09% 0.090 DOW JONES 16424.85 1.00% 162.29 ASIA ADRS 142.54 1.17% 1.64 -------------------------------------------------------------

* Wall St gains on Yellen comments & Yahoo; BofA falls * Brent oil rises close to $110 on Ukraine tension; U.S. oil unmoved * Gold flat as Wall Street rises, U.S. industry data strong * Copper firms on China GDP data, nickel rallies

For a digest of the day's business stories in Australian newspapers, double click on

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

(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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