Australia shares seen posting modest gains on metals prices

SYDNEY, July 25:   Australian shares may post modest gains on Thursday as a rise in metals prices is  expected to buoy mining stocks, but overnight losses on Wall Street could hamper the market.

* Local share price index futures rose 0.1 percent but was still a 36.1-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark rose 0.4 percent to end at a two-month closing high on Wednesday.
* New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.4 percent in early trade.
* U.S. Stocks mostly retreated on Wednesday as losses in utility and commodity shares more than offset gains in the  tech sector on Apple’s solid earnings.
* Copper rose on Wednesday, the fifth session of modest gains, after upbeat economic data from the United States and  the euro zone, but gains were capped by signs that China’s  economy is stalling.
* Iron ore prices edged back to a 2-1/2 month high as Chinese steel mills running low on inventories snapped up  spot cargoes amid limited availability of high-grade  material.

* McMillan Shakespeare Ltd said it expects to deliver a full year NPAT in the range of $61 million to $63 million. Shares in the finance group will begin trading again today after a one-week suspension after treasurer Chris Bowen announced changes to the Fringe Benefits Tax on novated  vehicle leases.
* Macquarie Group Ltd, Australia’s top investment bank, indicated it was on track to increase its full year net profit from its operating businesses, with a stronger performance from its funds business and a broadly flat performance from its fixed income, currencies and commodities group.
* OZ Minerals Ltd said its production during the quarter was more than 17,000 tonnes of copper and over 31,000 ounces of gold. The company said production for the year is expected to be weighted to the second half, with annual  copper production and cost guidance unchanged. (agencies)


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