Australia shares seen higher on U.S. investor confidence

Reuters - UK Focus

SYDNEY, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Australian shares are likely to

open higher on Tuesday, boosted by a rally on Wall Street, while

local attention will be on a string of earnings results led by

top global miner BHP Billiton (NYSE: BBL - news) .

* Sydney share price index futures rose 25 points

to 5,554.0, a 33-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200

index close. The benchmark rose 20.6 points to 5,587.1.

* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 22.3

points to 5093.5 in early trade.

* U.S. stocks surged overnight as increasing homebuilder

confidence and hopes of receding tensions in Russia prompted

investors to bet higher.

* Brent crude oil reached its lowest price in more than a

year as concerns over conflict in the middle east and Ukraine

eased while London copper nudged higher and capped after new

home prices in top metal consumer China fell in July for the

third month in a row.

* QBE Insurance Group, Australia's biggest insurer will post

it's half year results at 23:30GMT

* The Reserve Bank of Australia will release the minutes of

its policy meeting at 0130GMT

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2317 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG

S&P 500 1971.74 0.85% 16.680

USD/JPY 102.62 0.06% 0.060

10-YR US TSY YLD 2.3944 -- 0.000

SPOT GOLD 1297.65 0.04% 0.460

US CRUDE 96.69 0.29% 0.280

DOW JONES 16838.74 1.06% 175.83

ASIA ADRS 154.91 0.83% 1.28

-------------------------------------------------------------

* Wall St rallies on M&A blitz and homebuilder data

* Brent crude hits 14-month low as supply risks ease

* Gold (Other OTC: GDCWF - news) falls as Ukraine tensions ease, equities rally

* Copper rebounds, but China property downturn caps

For a digest of the day's business stories in Australian

newspapers, double click on

(Editing by Eric Meijer)

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