March 18, 2013 / 10:46 PM / 5 years ago

Australia shares seen steadying after drop, gold firm

SYDNEY, March 19 - Australian shares may steady on Tuesday after a sharp fall caused by uncertainty about a bailout plan for Cyprus, with a rise in gold prices offering some support.

* Local share price index futures rose 0.7 percent, to 5,043, a 27.6-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark dropped 2.1 percent on Monday, its largest one-day drop in 4 weeks.

* New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index inched up 0.1 percent or 6.2 points to 4,347.2 in early trade.

* U.S. stocks fell on Monday after a plan to tax bank accounts in Cyprus to help pay for the country’s bailout stoked worries that it could threaten the stability of financial institutions in the euro zone.

* Copper prices dropped to a four-month low, mirroring a pullback in risk appetite across financial markets, as the euro zone’s plan to part-fund a bailout of Cyprus by taxing bank deposits raised fears about the region’s economic stability.

* Gold prices hit their highest since late February, with some investors drawn to its safe-haven properties.

* New Hope Coal, one of Australia’s two remaining mid-sized independent coal producers, reports first-half earnings later today.

* The Reserve Bank of Australia will release the minutes of its March 5 meeting.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2219 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1552.1 -0.55% -8.600 USD/JPY 95.27 0.07% 0.070 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.9546 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1605.06 0.13% 2.070 US CRUDE 93.79 0.05% 0.050 DOW JONES 14452.06 -0.43% -62.05 ASIA ADRS 135.92 -0.99% -1.36 -------------------------------------------------------------

* Wall St ends lower on angst about Cyprus bailout plan * Oil down on Cyprus fears, bounces off 3-month low * Gold hits 2-1/2 wk high as Cyprus spurs safe haven buy * Copper slides to four-month low on euro zone crisis

For a digest of the day’s business stories in Australian newspapers, double click on (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by John Mair)

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