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Australia shares seen lower on Crimea tension, soft commodities
March 16, 2014 / 10:21 PM / in 4 years

Australia shares seen lower on Crimea tension, soft commodities

SYDNEY, March 17 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to fall on Monday on rising tensions between the West and Russia over the referendum results in Crimea, with commodities prices continuing to pressure the market on China concerns.

* Local share price index futures were down 0.3 percent, a 22.4-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close on Friday. The benchmark fell to a one-month low in the last session.

* New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.3 percent to 5,064.2 in early trade.

* Wall Street ended lower on Friday with all three major stock indexes down for the week, as concerns over tensions between Ukraine and Russia escalated ahead of a referendum in Crimea this weekend.

* Russian state media said Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to break with Ukraine and join Russia on Sunday, as Kiev accused Moscow of pouring forces into the peninsula and warned separatist leaders “the ground will burn under their feet”.

* The United States warned Russia on Sunday that Western sanctions were imminent and Moscow would pay an increasing price for its military intervention in Ukraine as the White House rejected a referendum in the Crimea region that it was powerless to stop.

* Copper rose on Friday but was on track for its biggest weekly loss in 11 months, with fears about credit problems and industrial demand in top consumer China capping gains.

* Shanghai steel futures cut losses on Friday but still posted their largest weekly drop in nearly a year amid slow Chinese demand that may cut short a swift rebound in spot iron ore prices.

Iron ore has recovered modestly as some buyers snapped up cargoes after prices slid. But most of those buyers may have been traders hoping prices had hit bottom instead of Chinese steel mills, which remain wary of a further decline in the face of sluggish steel consumption.{ID:nL3N0MB2CQ]

* Lend Lease Corp Ltd said its unit had been appointed as preferred tenderer for Northconnex Motorway, which has a construction budget of A$2.65 billion.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2204 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1841.13 -0.28% -5.210 USD/JPY 101.32 -0.02% -0.020 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.6561 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1385.88 0.30% 4.200 US CRUDE 99.24 0.35% 0.350 DOW JONES 16065.67 -0.27% -43.22 ASIA ADRS 138.67 -0.60% -0.84 -------------------------------------------------------------

* Wall St ends lower on jitters over upcoming Crimea vote * Brent rises by more than $1 ahead of Crimea referendum * Gold hits 6-month high on Ukraine worries; up for week * Copper up but set for biggest weekly fall in 11 months

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 4234)

Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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