SYDNEY Aug 20 Australian shares are seen slipping at the open on Wednesday as investors continue to digest a batch of earnings delivered this morning, though the uptick on Wall Street and in metals prices may buoy the market.
* Local share price index futures slipped 0.1 percent to 5,575.0, a 48.8-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark added 0.7 percent on Tuesday, its fourth consecutive session of gains.
* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index added 0.2 percent in early trade.
* U.S. stocks ended higher for the second straight session on Tuesday, as robust housing data and strong earnings from Dow's Home Depot overshadowed lingering concerns about the conflict in Ukraine.
* Aluminium prices rose on Tuesday, supported by a short-term shortage of available metal, while copper dipped on persistent concern about expected additional supply.
* Gold futures eased, under pressure from buoyant equities markets and a stronger dollar after upbeat U.S. economic data, and palladium sank from Monday's 13-year high as traders booked profits.
* AGL Energy Ltd, Australia's No.2 gas and electricity retailer by sales, booked a 3.9 percent fall in underlying annual net profit as it experienced a warmer-than- expected winter and demand for energy fell.
* Brambles Ltd, the world's largest supplier of pallets, reported 5 percent growth in annual net profit on Wednesday but missed estimates as strong revenue growth was outweighed by severe U.S. weather conditions and higher costs.
* Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd reported a 16 percent fall in first half net profit on weak domestic consumer spending and rising costs in Indonesia and warned full-year profits would be "materially lower" than last year.
* Challenger Ltd, Australia's largest annuities provider said its annual net profit fell 18 percent to A$341 million but said it was well positioned to tap the largely under-served post-retirement market.
* APN News and Media says it has successfully refinanced its debt facilities with a one-off pre-tax cost of between A$4 million to A$5 million to be incurred this financial year.
* Reject Shop Ltd says its full year net profit was down 25.4 percent to A$14.5 million.
* Seek Ltd says its full year net profit was down 35 percent to A$195.6 million.
* Woodside Petroleum Ltd reported a 33 percent increase in half-year underlying profit as output from the Pluto liquefied natural gas project increased and prices rose.
* Aveo Group said its full year profit after tax soared 115.1 percent to A$26.1 million.
* Charter Hall Retail says its profit for the year jumped 62 percent to A$85.2 million.
* Yancoal Australia Ltd recorded a loss after income tax of A$192.7 million.
* Southern Cross Media reported a net loss after tax of A$296 million.
* Transpacific Industries Group Ltd says it is undergoing a voluntary grounding of its entire fleet nationally following a fatal accident in South Australia on August 18.
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INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1981.6 0.5% 9.860 USD/JPY 102.89 0% 0.000 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.4033 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1295.15 -0.01% -0.140 US CRUDE 94.9 0.44% 0.420 DOW JONES 16919.59 0.48% 80.85 ASIA ADRS 154.63 -0.18% -0.28 -------------------------------------------------------------
* Wall St extends rally, lifted by Apple and Home Depot * U.S. crude sinks for second day ahead of contract expiry * Gold falls on stronger dollar; palladium sinks from 13-year high * Aluminium climbs, copper dips on worries about increasing supply
For a digest of the day's business stories in Australian newspapers, double click on
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer)