SYDNEY, July 24 Australian shares are seen
posting modest gains on Thursday, extending a six-year high as
Wall Street climbed on strong Apple results, though continuing
conflict in Ukraine and Gaza may constrain investor sentiment.
* Investors will also eye a key Chinese HSBC Manufacturing
PMI Flash survey due later in the day for clues on the recovery
in Australia's largest export market.
* Local share price index futures rose 0.3 percent,
a 30.7-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index
close. The benchmark added 0.6 percent to close at a
* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index added 0.2
percent in early trade.
* U.S. stocks ended mostly higher on Wednesday, with the S&P
500 closing at a record on Apple's bullish results, though
Boeing weighed on the Dow and conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza kept
the broader market's gains in check.
* Zinc held near a three-year peak overnight, with supply
set to tighten while aluminium dipped from multi-month highs but
could turn higher again as inventories fall and demand rises.
Copper remained almost flat.
* BHP Billiton and Anglo American Plc
are looking to sell their jointly owned manganese assets
portfolio in South Africa and Australia, the Wall Street Journal
reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
* Paladin Energy Ltd has announced a settlement
sale of its minority interest in its Langer Heinric mining
* Macquarie Group Ltd says it continues to expect
FY 2015 results to be broadly in line with FY 2014.
* Insurance Australia Group Ltd said its financial
performance in FY 2014 has benefited from favourable natural
peril and credit spread outcomes in the second half.
* Goodman Group Pty Ltd said securities issued
under its distribution investment plan for 6 months ending 30
June is A$5.11. It expects to issue 8.9 million securities,
raising A$45 million.
* Apple pushes S&P 500 to record close; Boeing hits Dow
* Crude oil rises on drop in U.S. crude inventories,
* Gold slips as equity gains dent safe-haven appeal
* Zinc near 3-year peak as stocks fall, supply tightens
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(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)