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Last update: Fri, 12 Feb 2016 08am
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Australia shares seen pushing ahead to fresh 17-mth highs

Australian-Securities-ExchangeMELBOURNE: Australian shares may rally beyond 17-month highs on Wednesday after US stocks, oil and base metal prices all rose on signs of progress in talks to avoid the U.S. "fiscal cliff". 


* The stock index futures rose 0.6 percent to 4,631, a 35.8-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index. The benchmark climbed 0.5 percent on Tuesday to 4,595.2. 


* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.6 percent to 4,002.5 in early trade. 


* US stocks rallied on strong volume on Tuesday, capping off the S&P 500's best two-day run in a month, on confidence that a deal would be struck in Washington to avoid painful spending cuts and tax hikes that could hurt the economy. 


* Copper consolidated gains as progress in the US budget negotiations eased fears the world's biggest economy could tip into recession. 


* New Zealand's annual current account deficit narrowed slightly in the third quarter as trade surplus shrank but foreign investors earned less from local investments, data showed. 


* Investors await comment from surfwear company Billabong International after it put its shares in a trading halt on Monday ahead of a possible takeover bid for the company, the latest development in a tumultuous year in which three previous takeover offers failed. 


Copyright Reuters, 2012