November 14, 2012 / 10:48 PM / 5 years ago

Australia shares seen down, miner BHP set to fall

MELBOURNE, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to open weaker on Thursday after the U.S. S&P 500 index fell to its lowest since late July on uncertainty over U.S. budget negotiations and an escalation of violence in the Middle East.

* Australian share price index futures fell 1 percent to 4,358, a 30.4-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close of 4,388.4.

* Global miner BHP Billiton is expected to open around 1 percent lower, tracking a loss in its U.S. ADRs . It expects to expand its iron ore capacity by nearly a fifth just by working its mines, rail lines and port harder as it looks to control costs..

* New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.3 percent to 3,943.5 points in early trade.

* Brent oil prices rose more than 1 percent toward $110 a barrel, snapping a two-day slide as Israel launched a major offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza.

* Copper edged lower after two days of gains on worries about the U.S. “fiscal cliff” and renewed problems in the European debt crisis.

* Qantas Airways Ltd said it will spend up to A$100 million in an on-market share buy-back and pay back some debt ahead of schedule to boost shareholder returns.

* Myer Holdings Ltd, Australia’s largest department store chain, said first quarter same-store sales rose 0.8 percent, beating forecasts for a 0.4 percent rise. .

* Grains handler GrainCorp knocked back a $2.7 billion takeover offer from Archer Daniel Midland Co as it reported a record annual net profit.

* Lend Lease Corporation Ltd said its infrastructure business had work in hand of A$6.7 billion at end June and it would invest around A$1 billion to A1.5 billion over the next three years. ----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2219 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1355.49 -1.39% -19.040 USD/JPY 80.25 0.01% 0.010 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.5894 -- -0.005 SPOT GOLD 1725.94 -0.01% -0.110 US CRUDE 86.34 1.12% 0.960 DOW JONES 12570.95 -1.45% -185.23 ASIA ADRS 115.90 -1.45% -1.70 -------------------------------------------------------------

* S&P 500 ends near 4-month low on budget, Middle East * Oil up 1 pct near $110 as Israel launches offensive * Gold rises on oil’s gain, Middle East tensions * Copper dips on worries of fiscal cliff, European debt

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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