Australia shares set to rise, metals prices firm

SYDNEY Thu May 22, 2014 7:12pm EDT

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SYDNEY May 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares are seen edging higher on Friday, supported by an uptick on Wall Street and a recovery in metals prices after improved manufacturing data from China.

* Local share price index futures rose 0.2 percent, a 19.1-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark rose 1 percent on Thursday, its biggest one-day percentage gain since February 12.

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

* U.S. stocks ended higher for a second straight session on Thursday, led by small-cap stocks, while the Nasdaq climbed on a rally in biotech shares.

* Copper and aluminium rose after two days of losses, on encouraging signals about economic growth in top metals consumer China and in the euro zone. Gold rose on follow-through buying.

* Chinese steel and iron ore futures rose, supported by an improved manufacturing activity gauge, but persistent uncertainty over the outlook for demand pulled prices off the day's highs.

* Tugboat workers agreed on Thursday to suspend plans to go on strike at Australia's biggest iron ore port till at least late June, just as miners stepped up efforts to avert action that could halt a quarter of the world's seaborne iron ore supply.

* Spotless Group Holdings Ltd said the company has been admitted to the official list of ASX as of May 23. Its official quotation is 1.1 billion shares fully paid, issued at A$1.60 per share.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2254 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1892.49 0.24% 4.460 USD/JPY 101.78 0.06% 0.060 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.5535 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1293.36 -0.01% -0.140 US CRUDE 103.69 -0.05% -0.050 DOW JONES 16543.08 0.06% 10.02 ASIA ADRS 143.84 0.70% 1.00 -------------------------------------------------------------

* Wall St rises as small-caps rally; HP shares off late * Brent slips from 2-1/2 month high on profit taking * Gold rises on follow-through buying after Fed; PGMS up * Copper, aluminium claw higher on Chinese, Euro data

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

(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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