Australia shares seen steady after jump on recovery hopes

SYDNEY, June 20 Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:18pm EDT

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SYDNEY, June 20 (Reuters) - Australian shares are seen opening steady on Friday after posting the biggest one-day gain in 6-months in the previous session, while a surge in gold and a recovery in iron ore may support miners.

* Local share price index futures slipped 0.1 percent, a 51.2-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark jumped 1.6 percent on Thursday, its biggest one-day percentage gain since December 19.

* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.2 percent in early trade.

* The S&P 500 ended at another record high on Thursday, extending gains for a fifth day on investors' optimism that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low for a long period of time.

* President Barack Obama said on Thursday he was sending up to 300 U.S. military advisers to Iraq but stressed the need for a political solution to the Iraqi crisis as government forces battled Sunni rebels for control of the country's biggest refinery.

* Iron ore regained more ground after falling to its lowest since September 2012 earlier in the week as some buyers snapped cargoes after this year's sharp fall in prices, although ample supplies may limit a further recovery. .IO62-CNI=SI

* Gold surged over 3 percent for its best day in eight months overnight as the Federal Reserve's lack of commitment to raise interest rates and continued tensions in the Middle East unleashed a wave of short covering.

* Westfield Group and Westfield Retail Trust were in a trading halt pending the outcome of a shareholder meeting on the group's restructuring plans.

* Wesfarmers Ltd says all regulatory approvals for the sale of its insurance underwriting operations in Australia and New Zealand have been received. The company is expected to record a pre-tax profit of A$700 millioon to A$750 million to be included in FY 2014 results. ----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2258 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1959.48 0.13% 2.500 USD/JPY 101.93 0.02% 0.020 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.6206 -- #N/A SPOT GOLD 1319.4 -0.02% -0.300 US CRUDE 106.68 0.23% 0.250 DOW JONES 16921.46 0.09% 14.84 ASIA ADRS 150.35 0.89% 1.33 -------------------------------------------------------------

* S&P 500 ends at a record as Fed optimism lingers * Oil hits 9-month high above $115 a barrel on Iraq conflict * Gold surges 3 pct in 'frantic' short covering after Fed * Zinc hits 16-month high on deficit, nickel slips

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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