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Australia shares seen firmer, base metals tick higher
May 18, 2014 / 11:16 PM / 3 years ago

Australia shares seen firmer, base metals tick higher

SYDNEY, May 19 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to edge up on Monday, underpinned by modest gains on Wall Street and an uptick in nickel and copper prices.

* Local share price index futures added 0.1 percent, a 19-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark fell 0.6 percent on Friday, but added 0.3 percent for the week.

* New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.2 percent in early trade.

* U.S. stocks ended higher in a late-day rebound as small-cap names and consumer discretionary shares advanced.

* Nickel prices rose on Friday, as investors refocused on shrinking supplies, while copper was on track to post its biggest weekly gain in nearly two months on robust demand.

* Gold fell as encouraging U.S. housing data weighed on its appeal as a hedge against economic weakness, while platinum notched its biggest weekly gain in a month-and-a-half as strikes in South Africa continued.

* Rio Tinto is not actively seeking to divest assets this year but would consider any attractive offers, Chief Executive Sam Walsh said on Friday.

* Rio was also optimistic of finalizing an investment agreement with Guinea for the Simandou iron ore deposit by the end of the month, Walsh told reporters on the sidelines of a conference.

* DuluxGroup Ltd said its first-half net profit was A$60 million, compared to A$32 million last year.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2300 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1877.86 0.37% 7.010 USD/JPY 101.51 0.02% 0.020 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.5231 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1290.96 -0.11% -1.380 US CRUDE 102.03 0.01% 0.010 DOW JONES 16491.31 0.27% 44.50 ASIA ADRS 143.49 0.32% 0.45 -------------------------------------------------------------

* Wall St rebounds with small-caps; Dow, S&P 500 dip for week * Brent crude rises 1.8 pct on week, Libya supply squeezed * Gold drops on bright U.S. data; platinum posts weekly gain * Nickel rebounds after falls; copper shows weekly rise

For a digest of the day’s business stories in Australian newspapers, double click on

Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Richard Pullin

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