SYDNEY, April 17 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
* 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
* 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
* Gold flat as Wall Street rises, U.S. industry data
* 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
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)