December 15, 2013 / 10:33 PM / in 4 years

Australia shares set for cautious start ahead of Fed meeting

SYDNEY, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Australian stocks were poised for
a cautious start on Monday as investors wait to see if the
Federal Reserve at its policy meeting this week would announce
it will begin scaling back its massive stimulus program.
    * Local share price index futures fell 0.3 percent
to 5,080, a 18.4-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200
index close. The benchmark ended 1.7 percent lower last
    * New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index was nearly
flat at 4,718.7in early trade.
    * U.S. stocks ended Friday's session little changed after a
three-day drop, but logged their worst week in nearly four
months on concern the Federal Reserve could signal the start of
a reduction in its stimulus program at its policy-setting
meeting Dec. 17-18.
    * Copper touched a six-week peak on Friday in a sixth
straight session of gains as nervous investors bought back short
positions ahead of a U.S. central bank meeting that could decide
the fate of its monetary stimulus.
    * Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has backed calls
from embattled Qantas Airways Ltd (QAN.AX) to have restrictions
that include limits to foreign ownership eased as the carrier
faces a record loss and increased competition, local media said.
    * Leighton Holdings Ltd said Leighton Properties
and Mirvac Group has won the Perth city link project.
    * Saputo Inc has increased its voting power for
ordinary securities in Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Co
 to 16.9 percent, the Canadian dairy company said on

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2207 GMT ------------
                    INSTRUMENT   LAST       PCT CHG   NET CHG
S&P 500                   1775.32     -0.01%    -0.180
USD/JPY                   103.21       0.02%     0.020
10-YR US TSY YLD     2.8664          --     0.000
SPOT GOLD                 1231.1       0.00%     0.000
US CRUDE                  96.56       -0.96%    -0.940
DOW JONES                 15755.36     0.10%     15.93
ASIA ADRS                144.49      -0.24%     -0.34
  * Wall St ends flat; falls for week with eyes on Fed     
  * U.S. oil slips on Fed tapering speculation            
  * Gold rises 1 pct on bargain hunting, posts weekly gain 
  * Copper hits 6-week high on nervousness ahead of Fed 
    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 

 (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Chris Reese)

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