SYDNEY, May 8 (Reuters) - Australian shares are seen rising from 3-week lows after Wall Street edged higher overnight, with the focus on banks after National Australia Bank highlighted pressure on margins despite a solid rise in cash earnings.
* National Australia Bank Ltd, the country’s top lender by assts, added to bumper bank earnings with a 8.5 percent rise in cash earnings as bad debt charges dropped.
* Local share price index futures rose 0.5 percent, a 13.2-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark fell 0.8 percent to a three-week closing low on Wednesday.
* New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.2 percent in early trade.
* U.S. stocks mostly rose after comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signalled continued support for the economy, but the Nasdaq fell for a second session as momentum names sold off.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin called on pro-Moscow separatists in Ukraine to postpone a vote on secession just five days before it was to be held, potentially pulling Ukraine back from the brink of violent dismemberment.
* Nickel prices climbed towards 15-month highs on worries about tightening supplies from Indonesia following an export ban on unprocessed ores and on concerns that political tension could restrict supply from Russia.
* Gold prices fell more than 1 percent as investors took profits from a run-up spurred by geopolitical concerns, after Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Ukrainian speratists to postpone a referendum and said he wa spulling troops back from their common border.
* Super Retail Group Ltd released a trading update for May 2014, saying its leisure division is expected to maintain second-half gross margins slightly below the prior comparative period.
* Arrium Ltd said its shipments for the March quarter was up 54 percent.
* Boart Longyear Ltd said its first quarter revenue was A$197 million compared with A$370 million in the previous corresponding period.
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INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1878.21 0.56% 10.490 USD/JPY 101.84 -0.06% -0.060 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.5896 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1289.46 0.04% 0.520 US CRUDE 100.84 0.07% 0.070 DOW JONES 16518.54 0.72% 117.52 ASIA ADRS 141.15 -0.57% -0.81 -------------------------------------------------------------
* Dow, S&P gain on Yellen; NASDAQ ends down for 2nd day * U.S. oil rises on surprise inventory drop, Brent up on Libya * Gold falls as Ukraine tensions ease; Fed in focus * Nickel near 15-month high on supply concerns, aluminium drops
For a digest of the day’s business stories in Australian newspapers, double click on (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Richard Pullin)