SYDNEY, July 23 Australian shares are seen testing six-year highs on Wednesday after Wall Street gained on solid earnings, though investors will be watching geopolitical tensions and an inflation report due later in the day.
* Local share price index futures rose 0.3 percent, but were at a 31.3-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark rose 0.1 percent on Tuesday to close at six-year highs.
* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.2 percent in early trade.
* U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday as some positive earnings and economic data pointed to a market that still had room to rise despite the S&P 500 hitting an intraday record.
* Investors continued to pay close attention to unstable regions abroad, and while violence persisted in the Gaza Strip, hopes rose for an easing of tension in Ukraine.
* Zinc hit a three-year high and aluminium touched a 16-month peak as investors sought more exposure to commodities with tightening supply-demand balances and were encouraged by falling inventories and firm equity markets.
* Gold fell as tensions eased in Ukraine after pro-Russian rebels handed the flight recorder and victims' remains from a downed Malaysian passenger jet to international authorities.
* BHP Billiton Ltd beat its own guidance for full-year iron ore output, saying it mined a record 225 million tonnes, 4 percent ahead of its forecast.
* Aurizon Holdings Ltd said its June quarter coal volumes were down 1 percent.
* Computershare Ltd said it will acquire Homeloan Management Ltd for an upfront consideration of GBP 47.5 million.
* Finbar Group Ltd says its joint venture has been selected as preferred tenderer to develop the Civic Triangle site in South Perth.
* The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release its quarterly inflation report later in the day.
* The Reserve Bank of Australia's deputy governor Philip Lowe will address a conference later on Wednesday.
----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2309 GMT ------------
INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1983.53 0.5% 9.900 USD/JPY 101.46 0% 0.000 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.4655 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1307.2 0.02% 0.200 US CRUDE 101.88 -0.50% -0.510 DOW JONES 17113.54 0.36% 61.81 ASIA ADRS 152.06 0.84% 1.27 -------------------------------------------------------------
* Wall St gains on earnings, data; conflicts still eyed * Oil slips as supplies flow despite conflicts * Gold slips as tensions over Malaysia jet disaster ease * London zinc hits 3-year high, aluminium a 16-month peak
For a digest of the day's business stories in Australian newspapers, double click on
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Stephen Coates)