August 21, 2014 / 10:46 PM / 3 years ago

Australia shares seen inching up, steered by earnings reports

Australian shares are set to open slightly higher on Friday,
scaling six-year peaks as investors digest more company profit
reports, including from oil and gas producer Santos, which could
reward shareholders with a cash return.
    * Share price index futures rose 0.2 percent to
5,615.0 to sit at a 23.9-point discount to the underlying
S&P/ASX 200 index. The benchmark rose 0.1 percent on
Thursday, posting its sixth straight day of gains.
    * New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.1
percent to 5,159.2 in early trade, with Sky Network Ltd 
up 1.4 percent after it beat market forecasts, posting a 21
percent rise in full-year profit.
    * Wall Street gave a positive lead for the Australian and
New Zealand markets. The S&P 500 rose to close at a record after
a flurry of positive economic data, as investors hoped for signs
from an annual meeting of central bankers that interest-rate
hikes are not imminent. 
    * Copper steadied after U.S. data signalled a strengthening
economy, but sluggish growth elsewhere in the world kept the
metal under pressure.
    * New Zealand's Spark Ltd, formerly known as
Telecom NZ, reported a 94 percent rise in net annual profit,
with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and
amortisation in line with its own and market forecasts.
    * Australian shopping mall owner Federation Centres Ltd
 reported 8.2 percent growth in underlying earnings to
A$242.9 million and said it expected earnings per security to
rise in  the year to June 2015. 
    * Atlas Iron warned it would book around A$25
million in impairment charges for the 2014 financial year after
selling its stake in Shaw River Manganese Ltd, some
tenements and office space in a move to cut costs.
    * Along with Santos, mineral sands miner Iluka Resources
 and IOOF Holdings are due to report earnings
on Friday.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2236 GMT ------------
                    INSTRUMENT   LAST       PCT CHG   NET CHG
S&P 500                   1992.37      0.29%     5.860
USD/JPY                   103.83       0.01%     0.010
10-YR US TSY YLD     2.4086          --     0.000
SPOT GOLD                 1276.61     -0.03%    -0.380
US CRUDE                  93.86       -0.11%    -0.100
DOW JONES                 17039.49     0.36%     60.36
ASIA ADRS                154.21      -0.09%     -0.13

  * S&P 500 sets record close on signs of healthier economy 
  * Crude oil recovers on U.S. economic data               
  * Gold hits 2-month low on technical sales, Fed  fears  
  * Copper steadies on U.S. data                         
    For a digest of the day's business stories in Australian 
newspapers, double click on    

 (Compiled by Sonali Paul; Editing by Jan Paschal)

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