Australia shares seen rising; Telstra, Fairfax earnings support

SYDNEY Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:27pm EDT

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SYDNEY Aug 14 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to rise on Thursday, underpinned by a firmer finish on Wall Street, better-than-expected earnings for telco giant Telstra and a return to profit for media group Fairfax.

* Local share price index futures climbed 0.9 percent to 5,483.0, to sit at a 31.7 point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark dipped 0.3 percent on Wednesday.

* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index was flat in early trade.

* U.S. stocks ended higher on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average returning to positive territory for the year, as surging biotech shares helped investors shrug off disappointing retail sales data.

* Telstra Corporation Ltd, Australia's largest telco, reported a 14.3 percent rise in annual net profit on Thursday, beating analyst expectations, and announced a A$1 billion ($930 million) share buyback.

* Australian media group Fairfax Media Ltd reported a return to profit on Thursday, posting annual net earnings of A$224.4 million ($208.8 million) after slashing costs, but warned of difficult trading conditions.

* Industrial property development company Goodman Group Pty Ltd says its full year revenue and other income soared 46.7 percent to A$1.68 billion.

* Copper fell to a seven-week low, dragged down by disappointing data on top consumer China's property sector, which raised concerns about the outlook for the metal used in power and construction.

* Gold rose after soft retail sales pointed to some loss of momentum in the U.S. economy, reducing fears among bullion investors that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates sooner than expected.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2311 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1946.72 0.67% 12.970 USD/JPY 102.42 0.01% 0.010 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.4202 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1312.4 0.00% 0.040 US CRUDE 97.34 -0.26% -0.250 DOW JONES 16651.80 0.55% 91.26 ASIA ADRS 152.93 0.98% 1.49 -------------------------------------------------------------

* Biotechs lift Wall St; Dow back in black for 2014 * Brent rises on supply risks, U.S. crude down as stockpiles build * Gold prices rise after U.S. retail sales disappoint * Copper slumps to 7-week low on China demand fears

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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