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Australia shares seen edging up on solid local earnings
February 18, 2014 / 10:21 PM / 4 years ago

Australia shares seen edging up on solid local earnings

SYDNEY, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to open
higher on Wednesday, tracking Wall Street's gain on increased
merger activity, as strong local earnings and higher metal
prices boosted investors' confidence.

    * Local share price index futures edged up 0.1
percent to 5,369.0, which was a 23.8-point discount to the
underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark
climbed 0.2 percent on Tuesday to a three-month closing high.
    * New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.1
percent to 4,892.5 in early trade.
    * U.S. stocks edged higher on Tuesday, following Wall
Street's biggest weekly gain of the year, as merger activity
boosted confidence that there is value in the market even as the
S&P 500 nears a record high.
    * Copper rose on Tuesday as support from a strong euro
helped cushion concerns about short-term demand in China after
its central bank moved to tighten the money supply.
    * Global miner BHP Billiton  topped market
forecasts with a 31 percent rise in first-half profit on Tuesday
and hinted it may launch a share buyback in August, despite
giving a cautious outlook on Chinese growth. 
    * Australian biotechnology company Prana Biotechnology
 on Tuesday announced a breakthrough in the treatment of
Huntington disease, a hereditary neurodegenerative disease that
affects thinking and muscle movement.    
    * APN News & Media Ltd said on Wednesday it will
acquire full ownership of Australian Radio Network Pty Ltd and
The Radio Network Ltd for A$246.5 million.     

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2207 GMT ------------
                    INSTRUMENT   LAST       PCT CHG   NET CHG
S&P 500                   1840.76      0.12%     2.130
USD/JPY                   102.34      -0.01%    -0.010
10-YR US TSY YLD     2.7087          --    -0.036
SPOT GOLD                 1321.44      0.03%     0.450
US CRUDE                  103.15       2.84%     2.850
DOW JONES                 16130.40    -0.15%    -23.99
ASIA ADRS                144.61       1.66%      2.37
  * S&P 500 ticks up on M&A; Nasdaq extends winning streak 
  * U.S. crude gains more than $1 on report of Cushing draw     
  * Gold falls as market takes breather after 3-day rally       
  * Copper lifted by strong euro, China cash drain caps gains   
    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 Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Jan Paschal)

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