Australia shares seen nudging higher on U.S. Fed, Iraq eyed
SYDNEY, June 19
SYDNEY, June 19 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to edge up on a positive lead from Wall Street after the Federal Reserve said economic recovery was on track, although turmoil in Iraq may keep investors cautious.
* Local share price index futures rose 0.3 percent, a 15.3 point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark fell 0.3 percent to hover at 4-week lows on Wednesday.
* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index were flat in early trade.
* U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 ending at a record after the Federal Reserve hinted at a slightly faster pace of interest-rate increases starting next year but suggested rates in the long run would be lower than it had indicated previously.
* The U.S. central bank slahed its forecast for U.S. economic growth this year to a range of between 2.1 percent and 2.3 percent from an earlier projection of around 2.9 percent. But the Fed's forecasts for 2015 and 2016 were unchanged, and it expressed confidence that the recovery was on track.
* Iraq has asked the United States for air support in countering Sunni rebels, the top U.S. general said on Wednesday, after the militants seized major cities in a lightning advance that has routed the Shi'ite-led government's army.
* LME copper traded near its highest in two weeks at $6,735 a tonne, underpinned by a pledge from Chinese authorities to support growth and by a lack of immediate supply. Gold edged up.
* Electronics and entertainment retailer JB Hi-Fi Ltd increased its profit guidance, saying FY 2014 total sales will increase about 5.3 percent, while FY 2014 NPAT will be in the range of A$126 million to A$129 million, up 8.3 percent to 10.8 percent.
* Australian billionaire Solomon Lew has accumulated a 9.89 percent stake in David Jones Ltd, throwing into doubt a $2 billion buyout of the upmarket department store operator by South Africa-based Woolworths Holdings Ltd.
----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2259 GMT ------------
INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1956.98 0.77% 14.990 USD/JPY 101.93 0.02% 0.020 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.5898 -- #N/A SPOT GOLD 1277.2 -0.02% -0.300 US CRUDE 106.25 0.26% 0.280 DOW JONES 16906.62 0.58% 98.13 ASIA ADRS 149.02 0.93% 1.38 -------------------------------------------------------------
* Wall St gains on Fed's view; S&P 500 at a record * Brent rises above $114 on Iraq worries, U.S. crude dips * Gold edges up after Fed statement * Nickel slides 2 percent as LME stocks surge to fresh record
For a digest of the day's business stories in Australian newspapers, double click on (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Richard Pullin)