Australia shares seen firmer on China PMI, rate cut hopes

CANBERRA Sun Dec 2, 2012 9:51pm GMT

CANBERRA Dec 3 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set for a firmer opening on Monday after China's official PMI index rose to a 7-month high and as investors bet on a local rate cut this week, but concerns about U.S. budget talks still weigh on the market.

* Local share price index futures rose 0.3 percent to 4,528.0, a 22-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index. The benchmark rose 0.6 percent to 4,506.0 on Friday to end the week 2.1 percent higher, the largest weekly rise since the beginning of October.

* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index eased 0.2 percent to 4,044.3 in early trade.

* The S&P 500 wrapped up its fifth positive month in the last six on Friday, although it ended the day flat as politicians remain at odds about how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

* Copper rose to its highest level in more than five weeks on Friday, supported by a weak dollar and growing confidence in the economic outlook for top consumer China, with prices on track to post their first monthly rise in two months.

* China's official manufacturing purchasing managers' index, released on Saturday, rose to a seven-month high of 50.6 in November from 50.2 in October, confirming a trend toward recovering growth in the world's second-largest economy.

* Sixteen out of 23 economists surveyed by Reuters expect the Reserve Bank of Australia to cut its cash rate by 25 basis points to 3.0 percent at its Dec. 4 meeting, matching record lows reached during the global financial crisis.

* Australian retail sales figures for October and ANZ job advertisements for November are due on Monday.

* China will release its official non-manufacturing PMI survey for November on Monday.

* Listed television networks could get a boost after the Australian government said it would extend its 50 percent rebate on television licence fees for another 12 months, and then make the discount permanent.

The decision would be welcomed by the top-rating Seven West Media, second-ranked Nine Entertainment which is owned by its hedge-fund lenders including Oaktree Capital, and the Ten Network which is struggling with revenue and ratings. ----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2131 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1416.18 0.02% 0.230 USD/JPY 82.39 0.39% 0.320 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.613 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1714.19 -0.51% -8.750 US CRUDE 88.91 0.95% 0.840 DOW JONES 13025.58 0.03% 3.76 ASIA ADRS 123.34 0.13% 0.16 -------------------------------------------------------------

* Wall St ends flat as 'fiscal cliff' focus lingers * Oil posts first monthly rise since August * Gold down for day and month on U.S. fiscal worries * Copper hits 5-week high on dollar, China growth prospects

For a digest of the day's business stories in Australian newspapers, double click on (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by John Mair)

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