January 9, 2013 / 10:42 PM / 5 years ago

Australia shares seen cautious in early trade

MELBOURNE, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares may consolidate on Thursday, encouraged by gains in U.S. stocks but sentiment may be cautious ahead of December trade data from China, Australia’s top customer, which is expected to show a pick-up in imports..

* Local stock index futures rose 0.2 percent to 4,689.0, a 19.1-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index . The benchmark rose 0.4 percent on Wednesday, snapping a three-day losing streak.

* New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.2 percent to 4,112.1 in early trade.

* New Zealand posted a bigger-than-expected NZ$700 million ($583 million) trade deficit in November, its fourth straight monthly trade deficit. Exports were down 2.4 percent from a year earlier, as milk powder, butter and cheese sales fell 10 percent..

* U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday as Alcoa’s better-than-expected revenue and a positive outlook boosted investor confidence.

* Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange ended unchanged at $8,080.

* Australian construction firm Macmahon Holdings Ltd said it had a new, two-part proposal from Sembawang Australia to buy its construction business.. ----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2158 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1461.02 0.27% 3.870 USD/JPY 87.87 0.97% 0.840 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.8586 -- -0.005 SPOT GOLD 1656.99 -0.02% -0.300 US CRUDE 93.18 0.03% 0.030 DOW JONES 13390.51 0.46% 61.66 ASIA ADRS 133.47 1.15% 1.52 -------------------------------------------------------------

* Wall Street rises after Alcoa reports earnings * Oil slips following big U.S. gasoline stock build * Gold down ahead of BoE, ECB meetings, PGMs up * Copper steady; investment offsets economy concern

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

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